Feb 11, 2017

All Kinds Drafting Services

If you're looking for drafting services, please contact
Architect Mike Lau (MikeDaDino @ gmail d ot com)
2151 Wilder Ave
Honolulu, HI 96822

How Long Does it Take to Get an ADU Permit in Honolulu?

How Long Does it Take to get an ADU Permit in Honolulu? by QQuestor on Scribd

Spatial Distribution of ADUs in 2016

There were 100 new ADUs (accessory dwelling units) created in Honolulu in 2016. All of them were mapped to identify which City Council District had the most and least new ADUs.

Ikaika Anderson's district tops the list with 36% or one out of every 3 ADUs. A closer look at the building permit data shows that 29 were in Kailua, 2 in Waimanalo, and 5 in Kaneohe. Trevor Ozawa's district of Hawaii Kai ranked second with 20% of all ADUs. At the bottom of the list: Ron Menor's district that includes Kapolei and Mililani did not have any ADUs. Perhaps a surprise, Brandon Elefante's district that includes Pearl City and Waipahu, had the 3rd lowest rate, adding just 4 ADUs new ADUs.

Data provided by the City and County of Honolulu

Sep 29, 2016

Drafting Table

For some reason, we used to get a lot of calls asking if we sold drafting tables. (We do not.)
For those who are still looking: http://www.versatables.com/products/drafting/
Freedom Drafting Table

Jul 5, 2016

Population Weighted Density

Residential density is notoriously difficult to calculate in a meaningful way. The obvious calculation is # people divided by land area, but this would distort the data if large unoccupied lands were included as land area in the calculation along with highly dense centers of population. Urban areas should be recognized as different from rural or suburban locations, but how do you delineate the boundary between them?

Although a wealth of demographic data is gathered by census tracts, tracts come in irregular shapes and sizes. The formula below is one way researchers standardize quantities to be able to compare different sized tracts.

In 2012, the US Census Bureau used Population Weighted Density to more accurately describe density. As the description implies, areas with high concentrations of people are weighted more heavily than sparsely populated locations. The equation looks like this:
I wanted to understand how to "weight" a quantity and started to plug in numbers to see how to actually apply this formula.

As an example: 2 census tracts, each with 100 sq ft. Tract A has 2 people. Tract B has 100 people. The traditional measure of density would weigh both parcels equally and calculate density as: total pop÷total area: 102÷200 sq ft=0.51
Population Weighted Density: [(2÷100x2)+(100÷100x100)+(if there was a Tract C, etc)]÷102=0.98
The weighted density more accurately reflects the perceived density (PD in the equation above) since it gives more weight to areas with higher population. If the density were based solely on the larger tract, density would be 100/100=1.0. In our example, weighted density is 0.98.

Data downloaded from the US Census Bureau shows Honolulu ranks as the #4 most dense metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the country. (Why aren't we included in more studies about major metropolitan areas?)

Most of the above information comes from this article by CityLab

Jan 26, 2016

ADU or Rec Room

Some considerations for building an ADU vs Rec Room
  • Regardless of what you call it: ADU or a Rec Room, if it's configured as a separate space with a separate entry and food prep area, the City Wastewater Branch would still assess an additional sewer base change, monthly. The BWS bill that comes monthly includes a sewer base charge, currently $71.81/mo. When sewer usage fees and BWS fees are added, your BWS bill will increase approx +/-$100 every month (depending on  water usage).
  • An ADU is a legal second dwelling unit and adds more equity/appraised value than a Rec Room. An ADU may allow you to use the income from the 2nd unit to help qualify to refinance your mortgage; lender requirements vary.
  •  If you wait (5+years) until you need it, you may not have the energy, resources, time, or health to see the project through. It takes a combination of all that and more to supervise a construction project in your own home.
  • Codes will change in the future and may require additional retrofits before an ADU can be legally installed (i.e. fire sprinklers, solar water heater -- these are not currently required, but could be in the future). Future zoning regulations may restrict locations where ADUs are allowed, or the CIty Council may rescind ADUs entirely.
  • Sewer capacity may be used up in your neighborhood and other infrastructure may no longer be avail to support new/additional ADUs in your area.
  • Permit fees will increase in the future.
  • Permit fee waivers expire 6/20/2018. ADUs permitted before then save by not having to pay the one-time sewer connection fee is approx $6,000.

Nov 16, 2015

Visualizing urban growth

The things that happen in Seattle; amazing.
From Seattle's Open Data website:
"Here's a fabulous example of what can be done with data from data.seattle.gov. Using Processing, (www.processing.org), Zubin Rao created an animation depicting Seattle building permit activity, charting permits by location and animating the permits based on dollar amount and issue date. The size of the circle is based on the dollar amount of the construction cost and grows to full size over the course of a year. As the time slider on the right descends, circles from previous years "ghost" out and disappear."
Mapping the quantity and intensity using building permit data allows construction value to serve as a proxy indicator for where urban growth is occurring. The analysis could be tuned further be filtering the results to show specific types of occupancy: Residential, Industrial, etc and new floor area vs alterations. This can be used to show spatially, which areas are adding new commercial square footage; what neighborhoods are undergoing conversions of uses: industrial to commercial, and so on.

One of the challenges of doing this in Honolulu (and perhaps elsewhere) is that properties are tracked by tax map keys. Legal and real property tax boundaries change over time: consolidation, resubdivision, dropped parcels, etc. When this occurs, it is difficult to track the continuity of permit activity through time. Sometimes permits get "lost," which leads to undervaluation of permit activity. DPP does seem to tag properties by census block group number (which also changes over time, although perhaps not as much as TMKs); not sure if permits are also assigned to CBG.

Another great app on the site: Seattle in Progress, shows the spatial location of Land Use Permits mapped around the city. Users can access further details about each project. I can learn more about proposed and accepted permits in Seattle, than i can in Honolulu.

Here's one example: https://www.seattleinprogress.com/project/3016806 by Perkins and Will. At the end of the presentation is the visual rationale for the "random" block forms -- they evolved from curves in a much older, traditional structure into the seemingly randomized block form, below.

Jun 27, 2014

Homelessness and Tiny Home Villages

To address the homeless situation in Honolulu, is it time we considered a village of tiny homes? Precedents exist. The first two images are from Opportunity Village in Oregon, the other photos are in Austin, Texas, which includes teepees, tiny homes and mobile homes.


The caption where the following picture came from reads: "Here's What Austin's Newest Housing For the Chronically Homeless Looks Like". Not only is housing provided, but also on-site support services -- medical and vocational. This seems like a key ingredient to the program's success, but who pays for the staffing, operational and maintenance costs? Should financial sustainability be a consideration in affordable housing developments? The site will also have a mix of other commercial mixed uses, such as a Bed & Breakfast and an outdoor movie theater. 

Such mixed uses may seem incompatible with a social assistance program, but given the higher cost of living in Hawaii, it seems reasonable to have an accessory or even consider a primary commercial use to help make the social component financially sustainable. What do you think -- would this work for Honolulu? Is there an underutilized part of town that would be appropriate for these uses? What is stopping us from building adequate numbers of housing?

Photo Source

 Site plan #2

Site Plan #3

Jun 2, 2014

McDonald's understands Seniors

What do McDonald's locations tell us about where Seniors are located? To what extent does the marketplace reflect the community's needs?

What if we coordinated aging-in-place centers using McDonald's market-based research?

Housing + Healthcare federal funding are not well integrated.  What models of care currently exist that do this well?

image source: http://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/op/gis/maps/mcdonalds_pop_65_over.pdf