Affordable Rental Projects Get Honolulu City Council Approval
By Gordon Y.K. Pang | December 10, 2020
Two city-backed projects that would add about 260 rentals to Oahu’s badly needed affordable housing stock won final approval from the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday at its last meeting of the year.
The 140-unit Halewiliko Highlands Elderly Affordable Housing Project will be on 3.4 acres at the site of the former Aiea Sugar Mill. It would provide 139 elderly, independent-living units. Meanwhile, the 125-unit low-rise West Loch Affordable Housing Project would add 121 affordable units to the island’s affordable rental inventory at a property on Fort Weaver and Renton roads.
The Aiea project, being undertaken by seasoned nonprofit affordable dwelling provider EAH Housing, won its OK via passage of Resolution 20-302, which provides a number of exemptions in exchange for the developers’ agreement to provide affordable units.
The project would consist of a three-story building housing studio and one-bedroom units with all the units eligible only to those households earning between 30% and 60% of area median income as determined annually by federal low income housing eligibility guidelines for 60 years. According to the resolution, 51 will be aimed at families earning 60% of AMI, 75 units affordable to those earning 50% of AMI, and 13 units affordable to those earning 30% of AMI.
Among the allowed exemptions: the ability to construct multifamily dwellings in an industrial zone, to build up to 40 feet in height (from 30 feet) and a reduction in required parking (to 95 stalls from 199). The developer also would be exempt from paying about $923,000 in park dedication fees, plan review and building permit fees ($218,000), wastewater system facility charges ($133,000), Honolulu Fire Department plan review fees ($19,000) and other standard fees and charges.
The project has the support of the Aiea Community Association and the nonprofit Faith Action for Community Equity.
The fate of the iconic, former mill site has long been discussed.
The Ewa project is being undertaken as a joint venture between locally successful housing developer Stanford Carr Development and nationally known Standard Communities.
Resolution 20-322 approved a development agreement with the city Department of Land Management. The city is agreeing to a 75-year lease at $1 a year for the 3.7-acre parcel just south of the city-owned West Loch Elderly Village.
The units will be spread across four multistory buildings and include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments all to be rented at or below 60% AMI, including 81 units that are required to be two-bedroom units. Five percent of the units would be required to be set aside for those making no more than 30% AMI. An unlisted number of units are to geared to seniors.
There would be 132 parking stalls.
According to a Department of Land Management staff report, neighbors particularly from the existing elderly housing project raised concerns about street parking, traffic, affordability, homelessness and security.
The developer still must complete an environmental assessment and get feedback from the community on a development concept.
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