Hawaii Building Permits may take longer

In a recent newsletter from the Hawaii Association of Realtors, I learned about a new law that will make it difficult, if not functionally impossible to make any changes to what are now considered “historic” properties.  Effective July 8, 2008, a new law went into effect that requires older  properties (structures over 50 years old) to get a clearance from the Hawaii State Historical Preservation Division (HSPD), which is part of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

Currently, there are 1,458 homes (49 active listings) on Kauai and 2,434 on the Big Island that fall into this category (data from tax records on MLS).  According to HAR, there are also approximately 50,000 buildings on Oahu that are affected.  Since DLNR is a State agency, who knows how much backlog there will be with serving all the islands 

Kauai Historic Home

Kauai Historic Home

Many of these homes are “grandfathered”, meaning based on current guidelines, they couldn’t be built.  So any work on the home has to maintain the current “footprint” – no add-ons, etc.

Our County Planning Department already has a huge backlog due to last year’s ADU law change, and this year’s Vacation Rental Ordinance.  Now, County permits for renovation, repair or demolition cannot be issued on these older homes without first getting sign-off from the Hawaii State Historical Preservation Division (SHPD).  Applicants are required to follow SHPD guidelines to document the structure with archival quality black & white photographs as a precondition to clearance.  County permitting departments cannot issue any permits without this.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is currently backlogged with requests, but is adding staff.

For more information visit the website for Kauai County.


About Susanna "Susie" Kunkel, RA

With a belief that life is too short to not follow your dreams, Susie and her daughter became new Kauai residents in less than 4 months after visiting for the first time in 2000. She brings a wealth of information from her background in administrative, contract and paralegal work in a variety of industries including technology, investment banking, biotech and estate planning. As a Realtor, Susies's tenacious and technical approach have earned her a large group of extremely loyal clients. Susanna is a steadfast believer in "The Golden Rule", and applies it to her approach as a Realtor. "Each client and each property are unique, so it's important to me to listen intently to what my clients' goals are, and to make sure I go above and beyond to help meet them."
This entry was posted in Buying a home, Kauai County, Kauai market updates and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hawaii Building Permits may take longer

  1. An a day-to-day basis, I’ve found this new law has impacted my working with buyers. Recent buyers who were doing an extensive search on-island loved the old plantation style homes. Several of those are now deemed “historic” and it’s a serious consideration as a buyer to know the difficulties one faces to make additions or improvements to the home. In some ways, this makes the older homes less saleable.

  2. Pingback: Hawaii » Blog Archive » Hawaii Building Permits may take longer

  3. ace says:

    this blog contain good info and help us to sharing info.. thx

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