Cities, towns, and neighborhoods are not a force of nature; they are a reflection of the decisions made by our leaders. If we want to ensure that local families and our children can continue to live on Kauaʻi, then we need to confront the housing crisis head-on. Housing costs are high because the supply isn’t meeting demand. To bring the cost of housing down, we need to build more homes. But, this doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice Kauaʻi’s character and quality of life. Instead of developing our prime agricultural land, we need to strengthen our neglected town cores and revitalize existing communities.
We can increase the supply of homes while minimizing traffic and preserving the character of our island. This balance can be achieved by ensuring that everyone in a residential area targeted for growth can build ʻohana apartments, tiny houses, and other additional dwelling units for family members or long-term renters. We also need to incentivize the construction of more buildings that contain a mix of commercial and residential space within our town cores. Lastly, we need to ensure that all new housing developments are located near job centers. But, these policies can't be enacted in a vacuum. We also need to continue building government subsidized housing projects and continue with the county's current crackdown on illegal vacation rentals.
Allow multi-family homes and additional dwelling units in existing neighborhoods and allow tiny homes to be built on lots with limited land.
Incentivize the construction of residential apartments above commercial space in our town centers and streamline the permit approval process for infill development.
Encourage developers to revitalize town centers by reducing development fees in areas where infrastructure already exists.
Eliminate minimum parking requirements for new construction or redevelopment in our town cores.
Ensure that no new development occurs in coastal areas at risk of flooding with 3' of sea level rise.
Update building codes to the industry standard (IECC 2015).
Ensure that Kauaʻi families can afford a home on Kauaʻi.
Increase housing options for low and middle income families - including ʻohana houses, ADUs, duplexes, and apartments.
Build livable, walkable, and affordable communities by allowing more people to live in our town cores while slowing the pace of development on agricultural land.
Follow the goals, policies, recommendations outlined in our 2035 Kauaʻi General Plan.
For more of my thoughts on housing, check out some of these published pieces: