Late last year, Maui County officials really started blaming the “Show Me The Water” law (passed back in 2007) for the county’s serious lack of affordable housing. The law, quite simply, requires housing developers to prove they had a long-term water source before the County Council would authorize new home construction. Mayor Alan Arakawa blamed it for a “3,000-unit deficit” while Councilmember Gladys Baisa said the law is “one of the main reasons why affordable housing has not been built.”
Councilmember Mike Victorino introduced a bill to repeal Show Me The Water, and the Council’s Water Resources Committee started holding hearings. The first was in early December, and another that will consider amending the law is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Now Shaka Movement–the grassroots organization last seen spearheading a ballot measure to ban GMO crops in Maui County (which was narrowly approved by the voters in 2014 and tossed out by the courts in 2015)–is fighting to save Show Me The Water.
“Developers want you to believe that our affordable housing shortage is due to the ‘strict’ regulations requiring them to show adequate water for those units,” states a Jan. 2 Shaka Movement press release. “They want you to believe that they cannot build more affordable units because of this water availability policy. The TRUTH is that our County doesnʻt actually know how many affordable units are OWED to the county from some of these same developers who have yet to build them, and who are lining up future projects without fulfilling their existing responsibilities. The TRUTH is that SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT (75%) of future housing units will be unavailable to most Maui residents as we have seen market priced units climb into the high $650,000s and up, thus making it unaffordable to many… The TRUTH is that many of these developers have been sitting on these affordable unit permits for years and have done NOTHING about them, all the while successfully building and selling their “market-priced” units within the project.”
Whoa, dial it down Shaka–yes, there are many reasons why affordable housing is practically non-existent on the island, but that’s no reason to go crazy with the caps lock key.
Photo: Hustvedt/Wikimedia Commons