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Apr. 3, 2008 by Lizas Eyeview

Affordable Housing On Maui

Affordable Homes. It has become a controversial term these days. People from all walks of life have different interpretations and attitudes on it. One only has to mention “affordable homes” in a conversation and you’ll hear a tremendous amount of opinions and point of views, some are very emphatic, and some are apathetic.

I am quite familiar with the issues of Affordable Homes on Maui because I work with a developer/builder who is dedicated to building affordable homes for the people on Maui. We have been building affordable homes on Maui even before the term “Affordable Homes” became a “popular term” among politicians. I am familiar with the need, the process, and the issues.

Maui residents have vast opinions on affordable housing. Recently, there’s a letter to the editor of Maui News expressing his side of the story (but remember there’s always two sides to the story); there’s an anonymous letters sent to the Mayor and Council Members questioning the process of selection (but since it’s from anonymous it can’t really carry much weight). There are people complaining. It is quite interesting and sometimes disheartening. One time I got a phone call from an angry lady swearing and shouting at me simply because one person she knows was given a chance to buy an affordable home in the subdivision I work for, and she didn’t get the same chance.

It concerns me that some people simply assume they deserve an “affordable home” JUST BECAUSE: just because they were born and raised; just because they are receiving a small wage and can’t afford to buy a market priced; just because they had been waiting for so long; just because. These reasons are acceptable, but they are not the only factor. People wanting affordable homes must realize that the process is not that simple. There’s a lot involved. There are many factors to consider.

As I resident of Maui I appreciate the fact that there are County rules and regulations in place and that a developer has to go through these process to ensure that their project is good for Maui. County officials and employees are there to ensure that Maui stays as a nice island to live on. All the review and permitting process the developer and builder have to go through are there for a reason. I can see their side and their point of view.

On the other hand, as developer staff, I can see how these processes can be frustrating and discouraging. When long delays in reviews and approvals are involved and when some requirements imposed are unreasonable, it can diminish the developer’s desire to build affordable homes. Why go through this hardship when they can just invest their money some place else.

Aside from the review and permitting process, there’s the process of selection and qualification. At this time some people are thankful and appreciative, others complain and whine.

And the list goes on….

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