Bill 2 was initially designed to make Honolulu's urban landscape more environmentally sustainable by changing parking requirements and setback requirements for buildings. However, it was substantially amended as it went through the approval process.
Faith Action's Environmental Justice Task Force members submitted oral and written testimony on Bill 2 multiple times and also participated in weekly meetings with a coalition of environmental organizations. The task force also has an op ed published by the Star-Advertiser.
In addition, the task force met with housing developers to assure ourselves and others that the bill would not have a negative effect on affordable housing.
Despite our efforts, developers met on a weekly basis with the Office of Planning, which initially drafted the bill, without any participation by environmental organizations. Substantial amendments were made to the bill. While the final version of the bill makes some progress from an environmental standpoint, it is a far cry from the original vision, with large sections of parking and setback requirements being cut.
Especially toward the end of the process, Councilmembers seemed to be listening only to input from the housing industry. For example, they did not respond to the concerns of environmental organizations about changes to the bill that were being made without discussion. They also cancelled public hearings at the last moment without adequate justification. Environmental organizations felt, to a large extent, that their voices were being ignored.
A stripped-down version of the bill passed on Dec 11th, 2020.