HSCA Position – Bill 270

TO: County of Hawaii Council Members

FROM:  Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance  (representing over 200 members)

The population of  Hawaii  County is one of the most economically and culturally diverse of any county in the USA yet we have only one Building Code based upon the erroneous assumption that “one size will work for all”.  Other  mainland Counties have adopted  optional alternative building codes that have proved successful in maintaining health and safety standards while allowing for diversity in construction methods and materials.

Our Alliance proposes that an amendment be attached to Bill #270 requiring our County Administration to adopt an optional alternative building code within one year.

The County of Hawaii presently has many thousands of residents living in non-compliant homes. These people are not in financial stress due to mortgages in a time when so many other people are in danger of losing their homes due to the rising numbers of bank foreclosures the recession continues to create.

Residents living in non-compliant homes are mostly homesteaders, financing their own construction sustainably, in a traditional fashion, that needs to be supported. The County needs to creatively find ways to bring these homeowners into legal compliance without increasing the risks of homelessness.

Our Alliance requests the removal of Page 19. Section 5-61. Criminal prosecution.  If passed this will make criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens presently living in unpermitted or unfinaled homes.

Section 5-60, Administrative enforcement., and section. 5-62 Injunctive action., are available at present and are sufficient for the purposes intended.

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