COVID19 UPDATE
Maui

To Build a Shed or Not to Build a Shed – A Pop Quiz For Maui Property Owners

True or False? You can build a shed of up to 1,000 ft.² on agriculturally zoned properties in Hawaii without obtaining a building permit.

Answer: Surprisingly, it’s true, but I would never recommend it. Read on and you’ll discover why.

Photovoltaic Shed

Photovoltaic shed (Shed 1)

Building Structures on Ag Land – Do You Need a Permit?

The North Shore of Maui has its fair share of freaky patchouli slathered hipsters creative property owners that have long taken advantage of the popular provision in the zoning code that allows you to build up to a 200 ft.² structure on agricultural properties without requiring a permit. (Email me for details on County Code.)

Imagine my surprise then when one of my clients said, “Oh no, I think you can build up to 1,000 ft.² without a permit.” Luckily, I had the good sense to be polite and investigate further, because I was thinking, “Hell to the no!” 

Present5

Shed 2

As it turns out, there is a little known bill that was passed called Act 114, which allows commercial farmers on Ag Lands to build farm specific structures (greenhouses, barns, sheds, aquaculture installations, etc.) of up to 1,000 ft.² without requiring a building permit.

The intent of the law was to make it easier for legitimate farmers to erect structures essential to their operations without having to jump through the many hoops required by the building permit process.

I remember hearing about an exasperated orchid farmer that was trying to install steel and glass greenhouses, but was getting challenged by the fire department, despite the fact that the greenhouses were entirely constructed of non-combustible materials.

Shed 3

Being the good investigative Maui Realtor that I am, I decided to go speak to someone at the building department. When I asked one of the women down at the building department about this particular act, she gave me that “Oh no, not Act 114 again!” kind of look. She went on to explain the myriad ways in which this law is likely to create future pilikia (problems) for Hawaii landowners.

Why I Would Recommend Building with a Permit

Bottom line is: “Who wants to potentially entangle their property in future legal issues, re-sale viability issues, etc?” It’s actually not that difficult to get a building permit, and it will ultimately make your life much easier. Email me if you would like access to resources for obtaining building permits in Maui County.

Which Shed Do You Like Best?

This blog post features a couple of my architectural doodles – sheds that I have considered building. Which one do you like the best? I’m kind of loving the egg one right now.

Here they are:

Liam S. Ball, R(S)
liam@hawaiilife.com

Comments (16) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

Kristina Shugars

April 21, 2014

I too was shocked…….keep in mind (as I just learned this too) is that if you are in SMA, you must have permits-even for the “shed”
Mahalo Liam!
🙂
KS

Liam

April 21, 2014

Well whaddya know! I did not know that. Thanks for piping in on the SMA issue. Aloha and see you at da office. – L

Kristina Shugars

April 21, 2014

I too was shocked…….keep in mind (as I just learned this too) is that if you are in SMA, you must have permits-even for the “shed”
Mahalo Liam!
🙂
KS

Liam

April 21, 2014

Well whaddya know! I did not know that. Thanks for piping in on the SMA issue. Aloha and see you at da office. – L

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

April 24, 2014

Since Act 114 is a state law, I will be referring my Big Island buyers to this informative and well-written blog post. Thanks, Liam!

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)

April 24, 2014

Since Act 114 is a state law, I will be referring my Big Island buyers to this informative and well-written blog post. Thanks, Liam!

GeorgieHunter

April 29, 2014

And it only applies to buildings with no plumbing or electric. Those will require permits.

GeorgieHunter

April 29, 2014

And it only applies to buildings with no plumbing or electric. Those will require permits.

Tim Stice

February 10, 2016

Great article Liam! I would get a permit even if it’s only 200 sqft, better to have all your ducks in a row.

Tim Stice

February 10, 2016

Great article Liam! I would get a permit even if it’s only 200 sqft, better to have all your ducks in a row.

Scott

March 10, 2016

Just an FYI…. We wanted to build a 200 sq ft potting shed with electricity and went to the county to ask what permits would be needed and they were stumped. After a lot of consulting within the county, they finally said all we needed was an electric permit and as part of that they will verify the building is under 200 sq ft. So, we built it, and they measured it as part of the electrical inspection. They were surprised we even asked for a building permit.

Scott

March 10, 2016

Just an FYI…. We wanted to build a 200 sq ft potting shed with electricity and went to the county to ask what permits would be needed and they were stumped. After a lot of consulting within the county, they finally said all we needed was an electric permit and as part of that they will verify the building is under 200 sq ft. So, we built it, and they measured it as part of the electrical inspection. They were surprised we even asked for a building permit.

Liam

March 10, 2016

Haha! Yes. Such is the journey of the permit seeker in Maui County. I was just there asking about a permit for a farm shelter for mowers etc. The permit process is admittedly frustrating. I might shrink my idea to 200 square feet and just build it. Thanks for chiming in.

Liam

March 10, 2016

Haha! Yes. Such is the journey of the permit seeker in Maui County. I was just there asking about a permit for a farm shelter for mowers etc. The permit process is admittedly frustrating. I might shrink my idea to 200 square feet and just build it. Thanks for chiming in.

Christy Herman

March 15, 2016

Hi, I have been investigating building with “Air-crete” on ag land in Maui, but I have no idea if this material can be permitted. Can you shed any light on what building materials are allowed, or how I find out before planning the house? I would like to be able to get a permit and build the 1000sq ft. home that I have planned. Thanks for your help.
I like the under 200sq ft. idea, but it would be a bit small to live in permanently.

Christy Herman

March 15, 2016

Hi, I have been investigating building with “Air-crete” on ag land in Maui, but I have no idea if this material can be permitted. Can you shed any light on what building materials are allowed, or how I find out before planning the house? I would like to be able to get a permit and build the 1000sq ft. home that I have planned. Thanks for your help.
I like the under 200sq ft. idea, but it would be a bit small to live in permanently.

More Articles from Hawaii Life