HONOLULU’S PERMIT ISSUE: LIVING WITH ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT

Date
2024
Authors
Ho, Edward SHIH HAN
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Kanisthakhon, Bundit
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Architecture
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The cost of living in Honolulu has become so high that residents are often forced to leave to seek more affordable housing. Despite local government trying to increase the number of affordable housing units, the development speed, difficulty, and cost of these projects have proven to be powerful deterrents to progress. The majority of the local community suffers from the high cost of housing, which is a direct result of housing scarcity. Although government nominally encourages community engagement and participation in housing advocacy, there are few methods for residents with small capital to participate in the process. The current status of housing in Honolulu demands an innovative process model that simplifies the development phase and motivates the construction of more housing units. The immediate need is for a solution that offers greater speed and increased access than large-scale affordable housing projects can realistically deliver. This research aims to delve into Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), a secondary, self-contained housing unit located on the same lot as an existing residential building, often used to provide additional living space or rental income, as a primary case study to understand how resident participation can be optimized. It seeks to thoroughly evaluate the existing permitting system, and to identify and assess the effectiveness of measures that have previously been undertaken to streamline the ADU permitting process. This study will entail a comprehensive review of Honolulu's efforts to accelerate the ADU permitting process, including examination of policy adjustments, technological enhancements, and/or procedural reforms that have been implemented to facilitate easier and faster ADU permitting. The objective is to ascertain the successes and limitations of these initiatives in encouraging the construction of ADUs, which are seen as a vital component of addressing the housing shortage. Drawing on the findings from this examination and comparison, this research will inform a revised process model that builds upon the existing system in Honolulu. This proposed model will aim to overcome the current bottlenecks in the ADU permitting process and introduce efficiencies that can significantly reduce timeframes and costs associated with ADU development. By doing so, this research will contribute to a scalable and replicable model that not only benefits Honolulu but also offers a blueprint for other cities grappling with similar housing issues. Further, this research intends to broaden its scope by comparing Honolulu's ADU system with those of other U.S. cities that have similar frameworks in place. The comparison will focus on understanding the strategies and reforms these cities have adopted to expedite the ADU development process and to incentivize building. Such a comparative analysis will offer insights into best practices and innovative approaches that have proven effective elsewhere.
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Architecture, Accessory Dwelling Units, Housing program, Permitting
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156 pages
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