Make housing true priority by cutting down approvals

The juxtaposition of a pair of commentary pieces in the Jan. 11 Maui News spoke directly to why our community keeps failing to response to our housing crisis.

In his Viewpoint “Updated playbook needed for affordable housing solutions,” longtime Maui Realtor Bob Horcajo makes a heartfelt plea for our community to come to a consensus on a strategy to truly address our increasing housing deficit. According to objective state economic analysis, that deficit is massive and its impacts hit ordinary working families the hardest, causing catastrophic rent rates; severe overcrowding; an inability to keep necessary professionals like teachers and doctors here; and even our own kids leaving.

While Horcajo asks for true leadership on this issue, one of our leaders, Council Member Mike Molina, presented an argument on the opposite page for the creation of yet another layer of community review of future housing and other development. Maui County and Hawaii in general are famed for having one of most stringent land use approval processes in the nation. It often takes a developer over a decade to get the approvals necessary to build homes.

There are already community-specific advisory committees for the county’s community planning process. Now Molina and Council Member Kelly King are proposing that we add yet another layer of citizen review at the zoning level. When is enough, enough?

In answer to Horcajo’s plea, we have to make housing development a priority. We have to add economic common sense to the approval process. And we have to elect leaders who will commit to getting homes built.

Dave DeLeon



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