(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth has vetoed Bill 194 to “preserve planning and zoning flexibility”, the administration announced on Friday.
Bill 194 – passed by the Hawaiʻi County Council in early March – would provide the Council “exclusive authority to grant an initial time extension for the performance of conditions within a change of zone ordinance.” It also increases the filing fee from $250 to $500 for any request for a time extension, change, or alteration of conditions within a change of zone ordinance.
From Mayor Roth:
Yesterday afternoon, Mayor Mitch Roth vetoed Bill 194, citing concerns over the Bill’s potential impact on the County’s ability to condition rezoning ordinances, provide affordable housing, and facilitate development projects.
The Bill proposed to remove the Planning Commission’s, Council’s, and Department’s authority to grant and/or add administrative time extensions for the performance of conditions within rezoning ordinances. Instead, any request for a time extension would require an additional Council approval, turning what was once an administrative procedure into a political process.
In correspondence to the Council, Mayor Roth noted that the Bill would add expense, uncertainty, and difficulty to the rezoning process, limiting the County’s flexibility to condition rezoning ordinances appropriately. Furthermore, the Bill would impede the County’s ability to provide residents with housing and facilities like hospitals, schools, and job centers, ultimately punishing unsophisticated applicants and adding unnecessary costs to the development process.
The Mayor’s recommendation is not to pass Bill 194 in any form and allow the existing process to remain in place. He emphasized his administration’s commitment to providing housing for residents and noted that the Bill would impede the County’s ability to achieve that goal.
The decision to veto the Bill comes after careful consideration of its potential impact on the County’s planning and zoning processes. Mayor Roth hopes that the Council will work collaboratively with his administration to find alternative solutions to address the issues the Bill aimed to resolve.