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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003
Updated at 11:41 a.m., July 25, 2003

Council committee defers action to expand lessee list

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

In what can be seen as a small victory for those who oppose Honolulu's mandatory leasehold conversion provisions for condominiums, the City Council's members voted yesterday 5-4 to defer two measures relating to the issue.

Supporters of leasehold conversion hinted at possible legal action if the measures were not approved.

The Executive Matters Committee deferred resolutions that would have added lessees from the Admiral Thomas Apartments and Kahala Beach Apartments to the lists of those seeking condemnation actions against the landowners.

In the Admiral Thomas condemnation initiated by the city on behalf of 27 owner-occupants, Resolution 03-152 would add seven more applicants. The Kahala Beach action involves 31 applicants; Resolution 03-153 would add two more.

The city's leasehold conversion program allows qualified leaseholders to use city condemnation powers to compel a landowner to sell the fee-simple interest of the condominium owner's property at fair market value as determined by an independent party.

The two measures are the first leasehold conversion actions to come before the new council that took office in January. The last council was widely split toward the end of its term; yesterday's 5-4 deferral votes indicated that a division continues.