THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

869

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to affordable housing.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the State faces an unprecedented economic crisis due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has decimated Hawaii's economy and caused its gross domestic product to plummet. By some measures, Hawaii's economy has been hit harder than any other state in the nation.

The legislature also finds that this drastic decline in economic activity has disproportionately affected the State's most vulnerable populations. The pandemic forced the shutdown of many sectors of the State's economy, triggering mass layoffs and furloughs and causing the State's seasonally adjusted unemployment to surge from 2.4 per cent in March 2020 to a historical high of 22.3 per cent in April 2020. Despite efforts to reopen the economy, Hawaii still had the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation as of November 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage throughout the world, most countries experiencing recession, and visitor arrivals to the State not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2024, the State will continue to feel the economic impacts of the pandemic for many years to come.

The legislature further finds that, even before the pandemic, renter households in the State already suffered from deleteriously high housing cost burdens, and that the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly exacerbated this situation. Recent data from the university of Hawaii economic research organization (UHERO) showed that more than eleven thousand Hawaii tenants have fallen behind on their rent payments and that forty per cent of rental tenants have lost their jobs. Modeling from UHERO indicates that up to seventeen thousand households may face an unsustainable change in their housing cost burden by the second quarter of 2021, even as the State's economy slowly recovers. Even in a best-case scenario, the number of individuals facing homelessness will continue to rise in the face of the pandemic. UHERO concluded that, from a policy standpoint, "doing nothing is not a viable option."

Accordingly, the legislature finds that it must take immediate action to mitigate the affordable housing crisis through legislation.

The purpose of this Act is to require the department of land and natural resources, through the state historic preservation division, to contract its review of proposed state projects, projects on privately owned historic property, and projects affecting historic properties to third-party consultants if the projects involve the development of affordable housing and the department will not be able to complete its review within sixty days.

SECTION 2. Section 6E-8, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"6E-8 Review of effect of proposed state projects. (a) Before any agency or officer of the State or its political subdivisions commences any project which may affect historic property, aviation artifact, or a burial site, the agency or officer shall advise the department and allow the department an opportunity for review of the effect of the proposed project on historic properties, aviation artifacts, or burial sites, consistent with section 6E-43, especially those listed on the Hawaii register of historic places. The proposed project shall not be commenced, or if it has already begun, continued, until the department has given its written concurrence. If:

(1) The proposed project consists of corridors or large land areas;

(2) Access to properties is restricted; or

(3) Circumstances dictate that construction be done in stages,

the department may give its written concurrence based on a phased review of the project; provided that there shall be a programmatic agreement between the department and the project applicant that identifies each phase and the estimated timelines for each phase.

The department shall provide written concurrence or non-concurrence within ninety days after the filing of a request with the department. The agency or officer seeking to proceed with the project, or any person, may appeal the department's concurrence or non-concurrence to the Hawaii historic places review board. An agency, officer, or other person who is dissatisfied with the decision of the review board may apply to the governor, who may take action as the governor deems best in overruling or sustaining the department.

(b) The department of Hawaiian home lands, prior to any proposed project relating to lands under its jurisdiction, shall consult with the department regarding the effect of the project upon historic property or a burial site.

(c) The State, its political subdivisions, agencies, and officers shall report to the department the finding of any historic property during any project and shall cooperate with the department in the investigation, recording, preservation, and salvage of the property.

(d) Whenever the proposed state project involves a development where at least eighty per cent of the units are intended as affordable housing, as that term is defined under section 201H-57, the department shall immediately retain a third-party consultant without regard to chapter 103D to conduct the review described under subsection (a) if, after an initial evaluation, the department determines that:

(1) It will not be able to provide its written concurrence or non-concurrence within sixty days of the filing of the request with the department;

(2) The third-party consultant has the qualifications and experience to conduct the review; and

(3) The third-party consultant will be able to provide a recommendation to the department within thirty days of the filing of the request with the department.

[(d)] (e) The department shall adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to implement this section."

SECTION 3. Section 6E-10, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"6E-10 Privately owned historic property. (a) Before any construction, alteration, disposition or improvement of any nature, by, for, or permitted by a private landowner may be commenced which will affect an historic property on the Hawaii register of historic places, the landowner shall notify the department of the construction, alteration, disposition, or improvement of any nature and allow the department opportunity for review of the effect of the proposed construction, alteration, disposition, or improvement of any nature on the historic property. The proposed construction, alteration, disposition, or improvement of any nature shall not be commenced, or in the event it has already begun, continue, until the department shall have given its concurrence or ninety days have elapsed. Within ninety days after notification, the department shall:

(1) Commence condemnation proceedings for the purchase of the historic property if the department and property owner do not agree upon an appropriate course of action;

(2) Permit the owner to proceed with the owner's construction, alteration, or improvement; or

(3) In coordination with the owner, undertake or permit the investigation, recording, preservation, and salvage of any historical information deemed necessary to preserve Hawaiian history, by any qualified agency for this purpose.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any feature in or on an historic property that does not involve a change in design, material, or outer appearance or change in those characteristics which qualified the historic property for entry onto the Hawaii register of historic places.

(c) Any person, natural or corporate, who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $1,000, and each day of continued violation shall constitute a distinct and separate offense under this section for which the offender may be punished.

(d) If funds for the acquisition of needed property are not available, the governor may, upon the recommendation of the department allocate from the contingency fund an amount sufficient to acquire an option on the property or for the immediate acquisition, preservation, restoration, or operation of the property.

(e) Whenever the construction, alteration, disposition, or improvement relates to a development where at least eighty per cent of the units are intended as affordable housing, as that term is defined under section 201H-57, the department shall immediately retain a third-party consultant without regard to chapter 103D to conduct the review described under subsection (a) if, after an initial evaluation, the department determines that:

(1) It will not be able to provide its written concurrence or non-concurrence within sixty days of the landowner's notification;

(2) The third-party consultant has the qualifications and experience to conduct the review; and

(3) The third-party consultant will be able to provide a recommendation to the department within thirty days of the landowner's notification.

[(e)] (f) The department or the third-party consultant, as applicable, may enter, solely in performance of [its] the department's official duties and only at reasonable times, upon private lands for examination or survey thereof. Whenever any member of the department or the department's third-party consultant, as applicable, duly authorized to conduct investigations and surveys of an historic or cultural nature determines that entry onto private lands for examination or survey of historic or cultural finding is required, the department or the department's third-party consultant, as applicable, shall give written notice of the finding to the owner or occupant of such property at least five days prior to entry. If entry is refused, the member or the department's third-party consultant, as applicable, may make a complaint to the district environmental court in the circuit in which such land is located. The district environmental court may thereupon issue a warrant, directed to any police officer of the circuit, commanding the officer to take sufficient aid, and, being accompanied by a member of the department[,] or the department's third-party consultant, as applicable, between the hours of sunrise and sunset, allow the member of the department or the department's third-party consultant, as applicable, to examine or survey the historic or cultural property."

SECTION 4. Section 6E-42, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"6E-42 Review of proposed projects. (a) Except as provided in section 6E-42.2, before any agency or officer of the State or its political subdivisions approves any project involving a permit, license, certificate, land use change, subdivision, or other entitlement for use, which may affect historic property, aviation artifacts, or a burial site, the agency or office shall advise the department and prior to any approval allow the department an opportunity for review and comment on the effect of the proposed project on historic properties, aviation artifacts, or burial sites, consistent with section 6E-43, including those listed in the Hawaii register of historic places. If:

(1) The proposed project consists of corridors or large land areas;

(2) Access to properties is restricted; or

(3) Circumstances dictate that construction be done in stages,

the department's review and comment may be based on a phased review of the project; provided that there shall be a programmatic agreement between the department and the project applicant that identifies each phase and the estimated timelines for each phase.

(b) The department shall inform the public of any project proposals submitted to it under this section that are not otherwise subject to the requirement of a public hearing or other public notification.

(c) Whenever the project involves a development where at least eighty per cent of the units are intended as affordable housing, as that term is defined under section 201H‑57, the department shall immediately retain a third-party consultant without regard to chapter 103D to conduct the review and comment described under subsection (a) if, after an initial evaluation, the department determines that:

(1) It will not be able to provide its review and comment within sixty days of the advising;

(2) The third-party consultant has the qualifications and experience to conduct the review and comment; and

(3) The third-party consultant will be able to provide a recommendation to the department within thirty days of the advising.

[(c)] (d) The department shall adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to implement this section."

SECTION 5. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

State Historic Preservation Division; Affordable Housing

 

Description:

Requires the state historic preservation division to contract its review of proposed state projects, projects on privately owned historic property, and projects affecting historic properties to third-party consultants if the projects involve the development of affordable housing and the division, after an initial evaluation, determines it will not be able to complete its review within 60 days.

 

 

 

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