Working For You Headline

DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND PERMITTING (DPP)

January 2021 – December 2023
  1. CONFRONT MAJOR SYSTEMIC ISSUES IN DPP
    Upon entering office, Mayor Blangiardi committed to take on major systemic issues in DPP decades in the making and he committed to do it by working with the experienced and knowledgeable staff in DPP. Going back to the unanswered 2019 DPP Audit, the DPP leadership team began to address long-standing issues including, but not limited to, insufficient staff, insufficient space, inadequate salaries, old technology, permit backlogs, and inadequate workflow processes. Mayor Blangiardi and the DPP team remain committed to change for the better in DPP.
  2. SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE EXTENSIVE PRESCREEN BACKLOG
    Permit applications waiting six-plus months in the prescreen backlog was both unacceptable and unnecessary. DPP set a goal, streamlined its process and incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) in a Robotic Process Automation (Bot) to successfully reduce the prescreen time from six-plus months to 5 days or less. Above all, this accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of DPP staff and their ability to adapt and evolve to improve their service to the public.
  3. DELIVER EFFICIENCIES IN SOLAR PERMIT PROCESSING
    Recognizing that solar projects make up more than 60% of residential permits, DPP moved residential solar permits to automatic online permitting, increasing the number of solar permits processed online by more than 80% compared to 2021 numbers. DPP also provided dedicated DPP staff to facilitate solar permit processing.
  4. MODERNIZE AND UPDATE DPP WEBSITE
    In 2022, DPP launched a new DPP website that is more user-friendly and incorporates a subscription-based platform to disseminate “Permit Process Updates” for building permits and expanded educational content. The goal is to provide permit applicants with everything they need to know before submitting permits so DPP staff can more efficiently process permit applications.
  5. TAKE ON ILLEGAL SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTALS
    DPP introduced Bill 41, which was passed by the City Council as Ordinance 22-7 in 2022, to rein in illegal short-term rentals, return residential neighborhoods to residents and increase the supply of long-term housing to locals. With the passage of Ordinance 22-7, DPP quickly set up a Short-Term Vacation Rental enforcement team and registration portal to promote legal, well-regulated short-term rentals.
  6. ESTABLISH O‘AHU’S HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION
    Mayor Blangiardi became the first Mayor to work with the Honolulu City Council to establish an O‘ahu Historic Preservation Commission. Administratively attached to DPP, the City is working towards earning Certified Local Government status for the City and County of Honolulu from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The OHPC helps to protect historic and cultural properties and resources while streamlining historic and cultural reviews in the development process.
  7. ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY THROUGH INSPECTIONS
    To ensure the safety of the public, DPP conducts approximately 118,000 inspections per year to check compliance with codes that regulate grading, grubbing, stockpiling, a subdivision of property, electrical/mechanical work, residential and commercial construction, stormwater and short-term vacation rentals. DPP cracked down on monster home developments, revoking 15 monster home building permits between 2022 – 2023 and decertified two third-party reviewers who erroneously approved illegal monster homes. DPP continues to fight illegal monster homes and defend our residential neighborhoods against overcrowding and illegal development.
  8. PRIORITIZE AND SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HOUSING INCENTIVES
    Established Bill 1 financial incentive program to facilitate small affordable housing projects on small lots, prioritized affordable housing projects for permit reviews, drafted rules for GET exemption on Bill 7 affordable housing rent and worked with Corporation Counsel to establish the City’s first Private Activity Bond (PAB) program in 23+ years. All to support and incentivize the development of affordable housing.
  9. INCREASE PLANS EXAMINER ENGINEERING POSITIONS
    Created 15 plans examiner engineering positions to recruit and hire engineers to increase DPP’s capacity to timely review commercial plans.
  10. TRANSITION TO E-PLANS FOR IMPROVED PROCESSING
    As of January 1, 2022, DPP switched to ePlans for all residential plan submittals and as of July 31, 2023, switched to ePlans for all commercial plan submittals. Paper plans are no longer accepted in an effort to streamline and modernize building permit processing. Although additional ePlans improvements are necessary, ePlans submittals are best practices employed in major cities across the United States.
  11. INTRODUCE SELF-CERTIFICATION (BILL 6)
    DPP introduced Self-Certification (Bill 6), which was adopted as Ordinance 23-29 in 2023, to provide an option for design professionals to self-certify their projects as code compliant while DPP makes major fundamental changes to the permitting process. Self-certification is a best practice used in other U.S. cities and allows design professionals to gain accountability and quicker processing times for code compliant submittals.