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The Role of Zoning in Hawai’i’s Housing Crisis

February 15 @ 10:00 am 11:30 am HST

Presenter Bios and Talk Descriptions:

Ron Terry, Ph.D., is principal of Geometrician Associates. Ron graduated from the University of Hawai‘i before earning a doctorate in geography from Louisiana State University. While an Assistant Professor of Geography at UH Hilo, he launched an environmental impact assessment consulting business focused on infrastructure. He has worked on more than 500 diverse projects including the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, the Hilo Landfill, the Kaua‘i Coastal Trail and a number of affordable housing complexes. For 25 years he has served on 3 State boards and is now on the Environmental Advisory Council, where he helped write the State’s new EIS administrative rules. His interest in zoning and its side-effects relates to fostering sustainable, walkable, bikeable, economically vibrant, fun and healthy communities.  Ron is married with two grown children and is an avid surfer, kayaker, cyclist and hiker.

Ron will discuss how biases often inherent in zoning and general plans can lead to fiscally unsustainable land use trends that stifle vibrant and equitable communities. He will explore solutions as well.

Trey Gordner directs the Hawaii Zoning Atlas, a statewide data advocacy project seeking to reduce the cost of housing through zoning reform. He is a U.S. Digital Corps Fellow, a Partners for Democracy Hawaii Fellow, and a lecturer at UH-Manoa. Trey holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech, where his research included artificial intelligence and land use regulations. When he’s not thinking or reading about housing policy, you can find him chasing a tireless 1 year-old around Ewa Beach, Oahu.

Trey will introduce the audience to the Hawaii Zoning Atlas–including its origins, goals, process, and initial findings–and discuss how it can be used to inform the current Hawaii County planning and zoning updates. 

Sterling Higa co-founded and serves as executive director of Housing Hawaii’s Future, a nonprofit movement creating opportunities for Hawai‘i’s next generation by ending the workforce housing shortage. He lives in Ha‘ikū with his wife and four children. Prior to co-founding Housing Hawai‘i’s Future, Sterling was a lecturer at Hawai‘i Pacific University and a writer for Honolulu Civil Beat and Hawaii Business Magazine. Sterling serves as Vice Chair of the Hawaii Community Development Authority, board member of Stand Up Maui, and an advisory council member for EAH Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing developer. He also serves as a member of the Building Beyond Barriers Working Group which was created by Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green’s emergency proclamation.

Sterling will talk about the question of population growth and how we can ensure locals have housing they can afford.

RSVPs have reached capacity. Stay tuned for a link to the recording!