|Gov. Neil Abercromibe and County Council member Brittany Smart worked on funding for the Ka`u shelter and gym, continuing the drive by former council member Guy Entriques. Photo by Julia Neal|
|Sen. Gil Kahele went to the governor's |
office to seek release of Ka`u funding.
Photo by Julia Neal
DEVELOPERS OF LARGE SUBDIVISIONS and planned residential and resort communities would have to construct affordable housing instead of paying a fee to the county to offset the affordable housing requirement, if a bill passed by the County Council Planning Committee passes the full council. Supporters say that developers paying money to government instead of coming up with affordable homes has failed to result in sufficient affordable housing on the island.
BUILDING PERMIT PRICES for new homes and other buildings on vacant lots would rise dramatically, if an ordinance designed to help pay for county services passes the full County Council. The council’s Planning Committee voted six to three this week to institute new impact fees that would be levied with building permits.
The cost would depend on the size of the building. It would range from $4,471 for a small home to $7,026 for a home 3,500 square feet or larger. The measure could lead to restoration of existing buildings or tearing down and rebuilding, as no impact fee would be charged for renovating or replacing a home or business with new construction.
Some critics noted that people saving up to build on vacant lots have already paid property taxes year after year and should be spared additional barriers to constructing a new house, business or community building on empty land.
According to Stephens Media reporter Jason Armstrong, Ka'u Councilwoman Brittany Smart “said while the bill will increase building costs and pose a hardship for some, it's a necessary tool to bring needed services and infrastructure to deserving communities like hers.”
The money is slated to pay for additional county services and infrastructure required when a community grows. At least 80 percent of revenues from the impact fees would be used in the community where impact fees would be collected. The remaining 20 percent could be spent in the area or adjacent “benefit zone.” For Ka`u, the benefit zone is the entire district. The impact fee bill now goes to the full council.
THE BIG ISLAND WAS SAFE from any tsunami threat from the strong earthquake that struck Canada yesterday. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook southwest British Columbia 9:41 a.m. Hawai`i time, but produced no tsunami. The last tsunami to affect the Ka`u coast occurred on March 11 of this year after an earthquake in Japan. The tsunami ravaged eastern Japan and washed away houses in South Kona.
MAYOR BILLY KENOI is supporting efforts to protect babies from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. During a presentation Friday at West Hawai`i Civic Center, he called for more counseling of pregnant women: “If we can get to our mothers before the last trimester, we can prevent fetal alcohol syndrome,” said the mayor. He was speaking during International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day, a worldwide movement to raise awareness about the largest known, entirely preventable, cause of mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day was recognized with bell-ringing and flags representing the work being done on this island . Healthcare providers and social workers screen pregnant women to identify alcohol use during pregnancy. A positive screen is a mother who admits to using substances during their pregnancy.
THE FIRST TROJAN FOOTBALL home game this season is today, Sept. 10, against Hawai`i Preparatory Academy at the Ka`u High School field. Game time is 6 p.m. Ka`u plasy volleyball in Kohala today as well.