FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2002
COMMENT ON BILL 53 DEFERRAL
Special Deputy Corporation Counsel Lex Smith today provided the following comment in response to media questions on the City Council’s action on Bill 53:
“The deferral of Bill 53 means that Chapter 38 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu remains in force, without amendment. Chapter 38’s constitutionality and enforceability have been established and confirmed by each and every court that has considered it, through the United States Supreme Court and by the Hawaii Supreme Court.
“Bill 53 would have expanded the owner-occupant lessees eligible to purchase of the fee simple interest in their leasehold homes. The City Council’s deferral of Bill 53 means that lease-to-fee conversion will continue to be available in cases where applications are submitted by either 25 owner-occupant lessees or owner-occupants of at least one-half of all of the units in the condominium project.
“Another result of Bill 53’s deferral is that some leasehold condominium units which were designated for conversion prior to the Hawaii Supreme Court’s decision in Coon v. City and County will remain ineligible for conversion. The City may incur liability to some of these lessors as a result of dropping the condemnation proceedings after designation. The extent of such liability, if any, has not been determined at this time.
“Finally, if the Council proceeds with a proposal to repeal Chapter 38, this action would mean that all Honolulu condominium lessees would no longer have any opportunity to acquire the fee simple interest in their homes. This would return the situation to what existed in 1991 when the City Council first enacted Chapter 38.”