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Maui County Code - Building Permits for Homes with Ohana aka Guest House, Accessory Dwellings

Posted by Start An Offer on Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 at 2:13pm.

The Maui County Rules for Your Ohana (Guest Cottage) aka Accessory Dwellings 

Are you thinking about building or buying a home or land on Maui and building and enjoying the many benefits of a guest home? Traditionally in Hawaii this has been called an "ohana" which means family! So the idea is to the live WITH your extended family. Cool concept huh?

Well, as we know it's usually better to keep them in a separate building!

All kidding aside, this is NOT something that is really that popular on the mainland,....other than the dreaded "mother-in-law" suite (an over-sized room with a bad kitchen). Either that or in reality most older relatives get carted off to the nursing home and most people hope their kids move as far away as possible! Not here. We stick together. It's ALL ABOUT Family in Hawaii.

Having an ohana (Guest house) carries with it many opportunities to increase the value of your home by means of both potential monthly cash flow (if you rent it out) or maybe you live in the smaller dwelling and make rent out the main house. Talk about cash flow! It will also majorly increase the overall property value.

But (there is always a but!) there have been some recent changes to the Maui County Code that affects the rules around building these structures. 

Enjoy the latest information below and please remember me when you are in the market to buy, sell or build anything in the Maui Real Estate Market! I'd love to help. And don't forget to check out my YouTube channel with hundreds of informative videos about Hawaii and it's real estate.

Please call Eric West at 808-298-2030

First of all....The Basics 

Title 19 of the Maui County Code: Chapter 19.04 – definitions: 

 “Accessory dwelling” means an attached or detached dwelling unit which is incidental or subordinate to the main or principal dwelling on a lot. 

“Dwelling unit” means a room or group of rooms connected together constituting an independent housekeeping unit for family and containing a single kitchen. 

 “Family” means ... two or more persons related by blood or marriage ... [or] no more than five unrelated persons.... 

Chapter 19.35 

 Ordinance No. 4936 (the “ohana bill”) took effect on December 24, 2018, amending Chapter 19.35 and other related code provisions 

 The size of accessory dwellings  The number of accessory dwellings allowed per lot  The size of uncovered decks  Allowance and size of covered decks  Allowance and size of carports and garages  Allowance of accessory dwellings in the Interim District  Prohibition on new B&Bs and STRHs in accessory dwellings 

What did it change? 

(Does not apply to Ag-zoned land; limited application to Rural) 

Section 19.35.020 

 Maximum gross covered floor area increased by 20 percent: 

7,500 to 9,999 Was 500 sf, Now 600 sf 

10,000 to 21,779 Was 600 sf, Now 720 sf 

Lot area Maximum gross floor area 

Up to 7,499 sf 500 sf 

21,780 to 43,559 Was 700 sf, Now 840 sf 

43,560 to 87,119 Was 800 sf, Now 960 sf 

87,120 or more Was 1,000, Now 1,200 sf 

Section 19.35.020, continued 

Maximum gross floor area was clarified: 

“Covered floor area” includes any covered storage; excludes carports, parking spaces and garages (including areas therein that contain laundry facilities and utility equipment such as water heaters) and covered walkways or landings up to four feet wide under eaves or overhangs that are not part of an uncovered open deck, patio, lanai or similar structure. 

Section 19.35.050 

 Number of accessory dwellings per lot: 

 MOLOKAI and LANAI: one accessory dwelling on any lot that is 7,500 sf or larger (no change)  MAUI: one accessory dwelling on any lot less than 7,500 sf and two accessory dwellings on any lot 7,500 sf or larger (a change from one accessory dwelling on any lot 7,500 sf or larger) 

 Practical Restrictions – setbacks, parking 

 Infrastructure Restrictions (19.35.090) – wastewater (sewer, cesspool or septic), water, street width, fire access 

 Reviewed during building permit processing 

Subsection 19.35.050.A 

 Uncovered open decks, patios, lanais, walkways: 

7,500 to 9,999 Was 200 sf, Now 240 sf 

10,000 to 21,779 Was 240 sf, Now 280 sf 

Lot area Maximum cumulative floor area 

Up to 7,499 sf 200 sf 

21,780 to 43,559 Was 280 sf, Now 320 sf 

43,560 to 87,119 Was 320 sf, Now 360 sf 

87,120 or more 400 sf (no change) 

Subsection 19.35.050.B 

 Covered decks, patios, lanais, walkways: 

10,000 to 21,779 280 sf 

Lot area Maximum cumulative floor area* 

Up to 7,499 sf 200 sf 

7,500 to 9,999 240 sf 

21,780 to 43,559 320 sf 

43,560 to 87,119 360 sf 

87,120 or more 400 sf 

*“cumulative floor area” excludes covered walkways or landings up to four feet wide under eaves or overhangs that are not part of a deck, patio or lanai 

Section 19.35.070 

Off-street parking 

 No change: all accessory dwellings must provide at least one off- street (meaning on-site) parking space 

 Change: this can be an uncovered space, or a carport, or a garage 

 OLD: one single-car carport, not to exceed 240 sf, allowed  NEW: a carport or garage, not to exceed 500 sf, allowed 

B&Bs (Bed and Breakfast) and STRHs  (Short Term Rental Homes) (Chapters 19.64 and 19.65) 

 19.64.030.A: no bed and breakfast homes in any accessory dwelling (section 6 of the ordinance) 

 19.65.030.A: no short-term rental homes in any accessory dwelling (section 7 of the ordinance) 

 Existing permitted B&Bs and STRHs can continue operating and be renewed; pending complete B&B and STRH applications can be processed, approved and renewed 

No changes 

 An accessory dwelling must have its own entrance (19.35.030) 

 An accessory dwelling cannot have an interior connection to the main dwelling (19.35.040) 

Where does this apply? 

 Interim District (Chapter 19.02) 

 Residential Districts (Chapter 19.08) 

 Urban Reserve District (Chapter 19.69) and Rural District (Chapter 19.29) but still only one allowed one 

 Does not apply to Ag (Chapter 19.30A) 

Handy links 

 Maui County Code 

“DSSRT” Digital Zoning Map ordinances (Title 19) 

Maui County Ordinances (Ord. No. 4936) 

Planning Department (Hot Topics) Project 

Hawaii Revised Statutes 

Questions? for County? Call

Michele McLean, AICP 

Planning Department 

2200 Main Street, Suite 315 

Planning Director 

Wailuku, Hawaii 96793 


In the market to buy, sell or build? Please call Eric West at 808-298-2030

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