Testimony about Bill 270

Aloha Hawaii County Council Member,

Please bear in mind the following when considering arguments for and against Bill 270.

According to the 2010 Census Hawaii County is home to the most racially, culturally, socially and economically diverse group of people in the US.  Meanwhile our present building code assumes that one size fits all.

We will never be able to satisfy the needs of all the stakeholders with a single building code for all. Several California Counties realized decades ago that it makes more sense to have alternative codes. We could do the same here.

Big island habitats range from Michael Dell’s $100 million dollar mansion to a homesteaders $50,000 self built home to a local artists $2,000 recycled materials survival center.

Many thousands of County residents are living in homes that are in non compliance with current County Codes, many of them have done so for decades. The existing building code obviously does not fit the needs of these residents, makes them criminals and causes them to live in fear of a neighbor reporting them for code infractions.

The existing building code strongly advocates for houses that are generally considered more suitable for California and in most cases are only possible to purchase through a bankers mortgage. We need new legislation that encourages and permits locally appropriate and affordable habitats that can be built without the need for a risky and expensive mortgage.

Hawaii County can find models for alternative building codes in at least six California Counties, some of them have been successfully operating for over 20 years. Many of the goals of these codes align with our State and County goals for greater sustainability. It is with this in mind that the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance has been researching alternatives to the present building code and will soon be presenting a resolution to the County Council to support this initiative.

sustainably yours,

Graham Ellis

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