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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Q.    WHAT IS NĀ HALE MĀNAI, A LĀʻIE RENTAL HOUSING INITIATIVE?

A.   Hawaii Reserves, Inc. (HRI) is looking to build rental housing in four areas along the Lā‘ie coastline to meet the increasing needs of individuals and families of smaller households. Plans call for primarily duplexes, to be built on 14 residentially zoned properties over the next several years, with roughly 2 to 3 structures per lot. This would include one, two, and three-bedroom units for a combined total of 74 units to help address the on-going severe shortage of housing in our community. We are at the very beginning of the permitting process for this infill housing initiative (“infill” is typically housing built on vacant land already zoned for residential use).

 

The name “Nā Hale Mānai” references the ancient name for the area; mānai can mean to stitch and here, we understand, refers to the stitching or weaving together of the common boundary between the ahupuaʻa of Lāʻiemaloʻo and Lāʻiewai.

 

Q.    WHAT IS THE “TARGET MARKET” FOR THESE HOUSING UNITS?

A.    These proposed homes are being built to help provide rental housing for local working individuals and families. HRI’s current housing inventory is occupied mostly by people working in Koʻolauloa; we expect that this will also be true for new housing as it becomes available. We have a standing wait list of people who want to rent our homes, but cannot due to limited supply.

 

Q.    WHAT WILL THE MONTHLY RENTS BE?

A.    The approval and building process will take considerable time to complete, and it’s impossible to predict what market rental prices will be in future years. For reference, current monthly rent ranges, as of June 2023, for HRI’s existing inventory of one, two, and three bedroom homes in Lāʻie interior (mauka of the highway) are respectively: $1,200 - $1,600 (1 bedroom), $1,750 - $2,600 (2 bedroom), and $2,400 - $3,000 (3 bedroom). We are planning to build higher density housing units that working families and individuals would more likely be able to rent; we believe this will help meet the needs of the local housing market, including smaller households. 

 

Q.    WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF HOUSING UNITS ALLOWABLE UNDER CITY CODE?

A.    For the number of lots involved, City zoning code allows 130+/- units. We are planning to build roughly half that amount in site layouts of two to three buildings per lot on average, consistent with neighboring shoreline properties. Planned product types include one, two and three-bedroom floor plans in duplex, multi-plex and single-family home configurations.

 

Q.    IS THERE MARKET DEMAND FOR MORE HOUSING UNITS IN KO'OLAULOA?

A.    Yes. At times there are lengthy wait lists for HRI’s current inventory of rental housing, and more applicants are looking for smaller units as household sizes continue to contract. Moreover, government and community leaders have for decades recognized that we’re in a housing crisis island wide, including here in Koʻolauloa. Too many of our families and children have left Hawaiʻi due to the lack of housing that is affordable to the workforce. We believe that providing more rental housing will, in part, help alleviate this crisis.

 

Q.    WHY WILL THESE HOMES BE FOR RENT, AND NOT FOR SALE?

A.    Rental housing is the best way to increase a sustainable housing supply in Lā‘ie that most working people can afford over the long term. Given the current market prices for beachfront land, selling these homes would likely price out many local working individuals and families. Also, while for-sale projects typically attract buyers from outside the area, we expect that this new rental housing will help alleviate pent-up demand from people already living in Koʻolauloa. 

 

Q.    WILL THIS NEW HOUSING BE USED AS SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTALS?

A.    No, this housing will not be used as short-term vacation rentals.

 

Q.    WILL THIS NEW HOUSING AFFECT THE PUBLIC’S ACCESS TO LĀʻIE BEACHES?

A.    No, existing public access pathways to local beaches will not be affected.

 

Q.    WHAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT WILL THIS HOUSING INITIATIVE HAVE ON THE LĀʻIE COMMUNITY? 

A.    The various studies that are part of the permitting approval process (see below), including an Environmental Assessment, will assess the capacity of Lā‘ie’s water, sewer, drainage, traffic infrastructure, and so on, to ensure that the project will not significantly impact coastal resources and the environment. Upon completion, these studies will be made available as part of the public input process, including the opportunity for public comment.

 

Q.    WHAT WILL THESE HOUSING UNITS LOOK LIKE?

A.    For conceptual renderings of the homes, please visit www.laierentalhousing.com. As depicted in some of the renderings, a generous shoreline set back of 100 feet is planned for the coastal areas to preserve open space and beach views.

 

Q.    WHAT GOVERNMENTAL APPROVALS ARE REQUIRED TO BUILD THESE HOMES?

A.    The project’s 14 parcels are located within the City and County of Honolulu’s Special Management Area (SMA), and will require an SMA Major permit. As part of the SMA application process, an Environmental Assessment (EA) will be prepared to ensure that the project will not have a significant impact on coastal and environmental resources. The EA and the SMA application reviews are both public processes and the approving agencies are respectively the City Department of Planning and Permitting and the Honolulu City Council. If the SMA permit is granted, HRI would then apply for building permits. For more information regarding these processes and the estimated timeline, please see the process chart at www.laierentalhousing.com.

 

Q.    IF APPROVED, WHEN WOULD THESE HOMES BE BUILT?

A.    The soonest that housing could be built on the 15 SMA Major permit properties is a few years from now. For more information about the location of these properties and the projected timeline for this initiative, please see the process chart at www.laierentalhousing.com.

Q.    IS HRI ACCEPTING RESIDENTIAL APPLICATIONS FOR THE PROPOSED RENTAL HOUSING UNITS?

A.    Not at this time; once approvals to build are granted, HRI will announce publicly when and how interested persons can apply.

 

Q.    WILL THERE BE PUBLIC MEETINGS ON THIS INITIATIVE?

A.    Yes, we are at the beginning of the permitting process and there will be several public meetings to present more information about the project overall and to gather resident input. Future meetings are planned to be held at the Lāʻie Community Association and Ko'olauloa Neighborhood Board levels. There will also be public hearings at the Honolulu City Council. We will keep everyone informed via social media and the www.laierentalhousing.com website, as meeting dates are scheduled.

 

Q.    WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE INPUT, OR QUESTIONS?

A.     If you have input regarding this initiative, or additional questions not answered by this FAQ, please send us a message via the Contact page at www.laierentalhousing.com.  Or you may contact us for the following items, as indicated below:

Draft Environmental Assessment

 

G70

Attn: Jeff Overton, AICP, LEED AP

111 South King Street, Suite 170

Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

 

Email: laierentalhousing@g70.design

 

 

​General Input

 

HRI

Attn: Kanani Tuala, Director of Property Management

55-510 Kamehameha Highway, Suite 12

Laie, Hawaii  96762

 

Email: tualak@hawaiireserves.com

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