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Maui’s mayor has vetoed an affordable housing unit bill

April 22, 2021 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Maui Mayor Michael Victorino has vetoed a bill that would have applied stricter regulations to a state program that offers developers incentives to build affordable housing units.

The bill initially would have mandated that at least 75% of the homes in projects developed on Maui, Molokai and Lanai under the state program be affordable to households with incomes near the median, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Maui councilperson Michael Molina proposed the bill and said developers receive too many benefits for producing too few affordable housing units.

“We’re just asking for more affordable housing,” Molina said earlier this month. “We’re trying to answer the needs of our community.”

The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. had testified that it was concerned the proposed change would reduce affordable housing developments in Maui County.

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The bill was amended to allow developers who propose projects with less than 75% affordable housing units to seek exemptions that would need to be approved by the city council.

The Maui County Council voted 6-3 to pass that version of the bill, which Victorino vetoed this week.

Victorino said the bill had good intentions but that he thinks another layer of regulations would delay affordable housing construction.