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Maui County To Open Expedited Permitting Center In Lahaina

Damaged property lies scattered in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, Aug. 21, 2023. Officials on the Hawaiian island of Maui plan to send debris and ash from the August wildfire t

Local officials in Hawaii are set to launch a County Expedited Permitting Center in Maui County next month to address the slow processing of building permits, particularly in the town of Lahaina, which is still reeling from a devastating wildfire last year.

The new center aims to streamline the permit application process, which has been a significant challenge for residents and developers in the area. The initiative comes in response to the urgent need for rebuilding efforts following the wildfire that ravaged Lahaina, destroying over 2,000 buildings and displacing thousands of individuals.

According to county officials, the permitting center will work in collaboration with a selected vendor to expedite the review of applications, providing much-needed support to private developers undertaking five separate projects that will result in over 500 new housing units.

With a focus on assisting property owners in the reconstruction phase, the county plans to facilitate the rebuilding process once hazardous debris is cleared and essential utility infrastructure is restored. The goal is to have properties ready for redevelopment by early next year, offering affected individuals the opportunity to start rebuilding on their land.

Currently, approximately 3,800 Lahaina residents are still residing in hotels as they await the completion of temporary housing solutions. Federal agencies like FEMA are constructing 169 temporary housing units, while the state of Hawaii is working on around 450 units, with 270 expected to be available by mid-year.

The state's temporary housing accommodations are projected to serve displaced residents for a period of three to five years, providing a stable living environment as the community continues its recovery journey.

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