If you want to build in Honolulu, it’s important that you understand the zoning laws and regulations in the region. There are specific districts and areas where certain kinds of properties may be built. For example, there are:
- Apartment districts
- Resort districts
- Business districts
- Industrial-commercial mixed districts
- Country districts
- Agricultural districts
…and several others. When you want to build, you will need to be sure that you are building a property in the right district or zone. For instance, if you are creating a mall, then building in a business mixed-use district or business district may make the most sense for you. Depending on what your business will do, you’ll want to carefully select a property or land area that falls within the correct region.
What should you do if the property you want is not in the correct zone or district?
It’s usually best to find a property or parcel of land in the correct district. However, if you find one that suits your business but that falls into another district type, you may be able to reach out to the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting to discuss the change. There is a process that takes place to determine if a change can occur. That process includes meeting with the Department of Planning and Permitting, presenting the project to the Neighborhood Board in the district where the parcel or property is located and then submitting the “Planning Division Master Application Form,” and other requested information.
This process can take many months, and most people who are going to go through it will work with their attorney to make sure they put together the best case for the zoning change. There may be a need to appeal the decision of the DPP, which is another thing that an attorney can help with. In general, the entire process of seeking a zone change takes around 255 days, which is why it’s important to make sure all of your information about your business and your plans is made available as soon as possible. Plan for a long wait, and be ready to defend your request.