Thursday, June 02, 2016


Backlash needed: Abuse of the land for investors instead of affordable housing for all

The small mid-century house originally on the property behind the fence in front of me was torn down in February to make way for a new 25-foot-high residential structure to be built by an investor from Tokyo. The home will sprawl out over the entire lot. The investor’s local agent says the man from Japan will be living in the new house about two months of each year.—
Denby Fawcett in Civil Beat

by Larry Geller

Denby Fawcett: The Monster Houses Among Us (Civil Beat, 5/31/2016) is a must-read.

It’s news that has been “disappeared” from our daily paper because, basically, they depend to a large extent on ad revenue from developers. Developers of expensive housing, for the rich and ultra-rich.

I’d like you to read the article, and pass it on if you like. Why? Becasue it concludes with an appeal that makes sense. In fact, the only way that Honolulu will escape being paved over from property line to property line is if we answer its call for a backlash.

Architect John Black thinks the only hope to stop residential lot mini-mansions would be a backlash.

Black says it will take a change of attitude that puts less value on “monster houses” and more value on smaller houses that people can easily maintain.

Neighborhoods around us are in flux. It is impossible to predict what will happen next.   I just wish someone; anyone would step in and say, “Stop. Enough already!”

Honolulu’s poorly planned and economically bloated rail project is a wet dream for developers. Although the “promise” of affordable housing along the route occasionally breaks into print, it is really just that—a promise. Show me an area map detailing the location and number of affordable units and the low rentals that will be enforced in perpetuity (see: Units in Kakaako 'workforce housing' condo being flipped for big profits, HawaiiNewsNow, 5/26/2016).

In truth, what’s in the pipeline are houses and condos that will transform Oahu from a comfortable place to live into an affluent urban bedroom community. Tourism, booming at present, may tank when that transformation advances sufficiently. The rest of us will certainly suffer the consequences: extreme degradation of our quality of life.

It’s not just crowded homes and loss of open space, views and the scent of fruit trees. We will lose the ability to travel on our own streets and highways as more and more cars are added to the traffic.

Who will prosper? The rich investors, snowbirds, and the ultra-rich. Also, the commercial media, real estate firms, and Whole Foods.

So where’s the backlash already?


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