Kauai County considers high-density housing ordinance

LIHUE — Two or more multiple-family units could be developed on any size land under an ordinance, permitting high-density housing projects on Kauai Island.

The Kauai County Council considered the ordinance at a routine planning committee meeting this week, the Garden Island reported.

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The ordinance, first introduced in February, would allow attached or detached multi-family homes on land of any size, as long as it is still in compliance with the residential density district, Planning Committee Chair Luke Evslin said.

“I have seen the problems that happen as a result of too much density for houses,” Councilmember Felicia Cowden said. “It’s been, you know, countless hours of time over the past couple of weeks of neighborhood sightings and just how much people can get into other’s throats looking into each other’s windows. I think we need to be careful how we put our houses too close together.”

Despite her reservations, Cowden voted in favor of the bill to further express the importance of not restricting new housing developments.

She added: “We have such a shortage of housing.”

The ordinance gives homeowners options, Evslin said.

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“In practice, outside of our town cores, smaller lots can also do multi-family homes, and it’s the families with the lower density with multi-family construction,” Evslin said. “I think it’s a slight mischaracterization to say these weren’t designed for it. Simply, (we’re) giving the homeowner the option, and they can only do it if they have the density to do it.”

The ordinance is scheduled for its final reading April 22.

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