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Hawaii council passes bill to slow growth of monster houses

April 19, 2019 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii city council has passed a bill to restrict the size of so-called monster houses.

The Honolulu City Council passed a bill Wednesday that sets maximum density for detached dwellings, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.

Homes cannot have a floor area ratio of 0.7, meaning a floor area greater than 70% of a house lot’s size. Houses with floor area ratios greater than 0.6 would need to be owner-occupied and meet additional rules.

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Those rules include side and rear yards of 8 feet (about 2 meters) and temporary certificates of occupancy for up to a year, during which time the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting could inspect the house.

Monster houses go up quickly, often defy city building rules and dwarf other homes in older residential neighborhoods. Critics say the structures overburden street parking and infrastructure and are frequently used as illegal rentals, vacation homes or other nonconforming businesses.

The bill introduced last fall as a comprehensive policy for addressing the monster house phenomenon passed by a vote of 9-0.

“I have to say 95% of the concerns have been negotiated where everybody can live with it,” said council zoning chairwoman Kymberly Pine. “That’s very rare in such a divisive bill.”

The Building Industry Association of Hawaii said new regulations may create additional delays in obtaining permits. The association and other legitimate homebuilders have said the permitting process already takes too long at a time when there is a huge demand for housing.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com