(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Council on Wednesday voted to override Mayor Mitch Roth’s veto of Bill 194, a measure which takes the authority to grant zoning extensions from the administration’s planning department and gives it exclusivley to the council.
Bill 194 was passed by the council with a 6-3 vote in early March, but was vetoed by the Mayor on March 30. Kona councilmember Holeka Goro Inaba requested the a reconsideration of the bill. The council voted to override the bill, again with a 6-3 vote.
Supporters of Bill 194 say the measure increases transparency by taking zoning extensions from an administration process “with little to no accountability to the public and to the law”, and making it a public process before the council. They say the bill counters the special interests that “continue to influence land use” on Hawaiʻi island.
“It’s disappointing that the Council chose to pass an imperfect bill today that will limit the County’s flexibility to appropriately condition rezoning ordinances — adding expense, uncertainty, and difficulty to the rezoning process, ensuring we maintain our position as the most regulated County in the nation,” responded Mayor Roth in a written statement following the overriding vote. “That said, the Council has made its decision, and we will respect it and move forward accordingly. Should we be able to revisit the language, we will stand ready to engage in that process. Otherwise, our administration will continue to make strides toward getting local families into homes and local builders onto job sites.”
“We would like to thank those Councilmembers who stood by our veto — understanding the importance of transparency while refusing to pass unsound legislation,” the Mayor said.