Lingle seeks support for housing proposals
She pledges to cut red tape and fees for developers and boost affordable-housing programs
Gov. Linda Lingle pledged her support yesterday to cut fees and red tape for developers and to work with the Legislature to create more affordable housing measures both for the state's lowest-paid people and those who fall in the gap category.
As she addressed more than 1,300 members of the state's booming real estate industry who were gathered at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for the Honolulu Board of Realtors annual meeting and awards ceremony, Lingle encouraged the industry to continue to discuss the "dwindling supply of affordable housing" and to join her in voicing the solutions.
"Realtors have credibility about speaking up about housing," Lingle said to the board of Realtors, which is celebrating its 83rd year. Membership in the organization, which at more than 5,500 members is the largest trade group on Oahu, is available to licensed real estate brokers and agents.
The median price paid for houses on Oahu jumped 28.5 percent to $590,000 in the first 11 months of this year from the same period last year, while the median price for condos leapt 28.6 percent to $265,000.
"I will continue my administration's efforts to create more ways to increase affordable housing in the next legislative session," Lingle said. She is seeking support for her affordable housing package, which includes a measure that would increase the income limits of affordable-housing programs to 140 percent of the median income.
"We think the affordable housing issue is broader than even just those on the lower end. I am concerned about the school teacher who is married to the firefighter: They should be able to afford to buy a home."
Lingle also asked for support for proposals that ease the building of affordable homes. She advocates changing the role of the Land Use Commission from one of parcel-by-parcel, judicial-type review to one of setting broad land-use policies. The administration is also in favor of reclassifying land in larger units such as tracks or designed growth areas, she said.
In addition, the governor urged members of the real estate industry to speak up about the role of impact fees and exactions in the increasing price of housing. Her suggestion that fees for housing development should be limited to what is real and justified drew applause from the crowd.
Lingle also asked developers, real estate agents and brokers gathered at the event to support efforts to increase housing development in the downtown district, including Kakaako.