The developers, contractors, architects and engineers that helped design and build five residential developments in Hawaii have agreed to make accessibility retrofits at the properties and together pay $320,000 as part of a settlement with federal officials. The Dept. of Justice alleged the companies violated the Fair Housing Act by not meeting accessibility requirements at the apartment and condominium complexes.
“Under this agreement, hundreds of apartment units in Hawaii will be significantly improved so that people with disabilities are able to easily navigate the property,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the Justice Dept.’s civil rights division, in a statement.
The agreement includes contractors Albert C. Kobayashi Inc., Rojac Construction Inc., Delta Construction Corp. and Goodfellow Bros LLC; engineers Sato & Assoc. Inc., Fukumoto Engineering Inc. and Warren S. Unemori Engineering Inc.; architects Martin V. Cooper, Design Partners Inc., Michael N. Goshi, Fritz Johnson Inc., Frederick M. Johnson and GYA Architects Inc.; plus developers Stanford Carr Development LLC and SCD Wailea Fairways LLC.
Attorneys representing the firms did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Under the agreement, which still requires approval from a federal judge in Hawaii, the firms would make hundreds of related retrofits at the housing complexes, such as modifying steep walkway slopes and widening doorways for wheelchair access.
The complexes include Napilihau Villages and Napili Villas, both in Lahaina; Wailea Fairway Villas in Kihei, Kahului Town Terrace in Kahului and Palehua Terrace Phase I in Kapolei. Kahului Town Terrace and Palehua Terrace Phase I were designed as affordable housing under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, officials note.
All of the complexes but the one in Kapolei are on Maui, where wildfires destroyed thousands of buildings this summer. The retrofits are due to be completed within 180 days, though the agreement allows for delays caused by reconstruction of buildings damaged by the Maui wildfires.
Nine of the firms also agreed to pay a combined $120,000 for residents affected by the lack of accessibility, and five of the firms will pay $200,000 total for additional accessibility-related improvements at Napili Villas.