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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                           October 30, 2009

Release No. M-74-09

 

MAYOR HANNEMANN APPROVES BILL EASING RESTRICTIONS

ON CHURCHES, COMMUNITY GROUPS

 

(Friday, October 30, 2009)—Mayor Mufi Hannemann today signed into law Bill 61, which makes it easier for churches and other community groups to establish meeting facilities in districts zoned for industrial uses where similar facilities are located.

 

            “This measure is a reasonable accommodation that allows community groups to invest in and enliven industrial areas,” Hannemann said. “Churches and other groups do so much good work for our communities, and this change supports those efforts.”

 

Bill 61 amends the Land Use Ordinance by removing the 1,000-foot separation requirement for meeting facilities in the I-1 Limited Industrial District, thereby allowing additional facilities nearby. The 1,000-foot restriction remains in place in areas zoned I-2, for heavy industrial uses. A requirement that facilities remain vacant for three months before being utilized by churches or community groups was removed for both I-1 and I-2 areas.

 

As Chairman of the City Council’s Planning Committee, and then as Council Chairman, Hannemann shepherded the bill that in 1998 first allowed churches and community groups to establish facilities in industrial areas and made other important revisions to the Land Use Ordinance. Since then, churches such as New Hope Christian Fellowship have established facilities in the Sand Island area and elsewhere, greatly contributing to neighborhood revitalization, especially on weekends.

 

“The passing of this bill will confirm what previous studies have shown, with more churches in the city there is a decrease in crime, a safer environment, higher morale, and greater community involvement,” said Pastor Norman Nakanishi, of Grace Bible Church.

 

Dan Chun, President of Hawaiian Islands Ministries and Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, said, “This is great news for churches all over Hawaii and it is terrific news for the community because where churches are, community is strengthened.”

 

Kahu Curt Kekuna, of Kawaihao Church, called Bill 61 “a win-win for our communities who want to worship.”

 

The City Council approved Bill 61 on October 27, 2009.

 

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Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928