Determined to solve Hawaiʻis housing crisis, Gov. Josh Green today signed an emergency proclamation that directs all state agencies to prioritize housing reviews, plans, approvals, permit processing and redirecting additional state resources to address the problem.
“The idea … is putting everyone in the room at the same time to sign off on the projects and go forward,” Green said today during a news conference at the State Capitol. “We will share with those who have applied for EIS, we will err on the side of what’s less in the way. The Legislature needs to meet more often to make this happen. We don’t want to take 19 years to do this. We have three and a half years.”
Project leader and Hawaiʻi Chief Housing Officer Nani Medeiros previously met with stakeholders and gathered input from grassroots groups, housing builders, industry partners and government agencies to develop a conversation that will help “create processes that prioritize housing for generations of our keiki and their keiki,” she said.
The emergency proclamation allows for expediting “the safe construction of thousands of critically needed, public, low-income, affordable, workforce, and market-rate for-sale and rental units for Hawaiʻi residents across the state, while ensuring careful stewardship of the land and all it holds.”
One directive is for Medeiros to assemble and chair a Build Beyond Barriers Working Group that will steward housing projects through the development process. It will “facilitate … an effort to engage entities with key roles in project permitting and site development to increase transparency, coordination, collaboration and urgency to timely facilitate, coordinate and align project development and reviews to help prevent further delay of critical projects,” according to the governor’s office.
Once certified by the working group, Gov. Green said approvals “may be used for the construction of infrastructure projects such as roads, wells, sewer and other utility installations that will serve housing projects. … These projects may service or contain elements other than housing.”