Location: Honolulu, HI

Client: Community Development Authority, State of Hawaii

Partner:  Torti Gallas Partners, Architects

Scope: Form Based Codes

“The Mauka Area is part of an island transect from the mountains to the ocean, Mauka to Makai… Torti Gallas’ [and Lamphier-Gregory’s] Form Based Code captures the spirit of this place and improves upon it.”


Signed into law by Hawaii Governor Abercrombie in October 2011, the Mauka Area Rules (Form-Based Code) applies to an intensely urban area of Honolulu, Hawaii. The regulatory setting for this project was very unique as land use and development in the project area is regulated by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, a state agency, rather than the City/County of Honolulu. Prior to the form-based code, the Hawaii Community Development Authority was utilizing a zoning ordinance that was both antiquated and unfriendly to users. 


Mr. Colin’s task on this project was to work in partnership with Neal Payton AIA of Torti Gallas Partners on the wholesale replacement of the zoning ordinance with an entirely new form-based code. This collaborative effort required a new code template, the calibration of new neighborhood-based zoning districts for harmony with corresponding policy document provisions, and institution of a streamlined decision-making process. One of the particularly challenging aspects of the assignment - which Mr. Colin was instrumental in resolving - was drafting contemporary, user-friendly code language in accordance with strict legislative drafting requirements common only to the State of Hawaii.

Prior to code-writing, Mr. Colin prepared a concise summary of existing land use plans and regulations applicable to the project area. Mr. Colin composed text within the form-based Code and edited contributions by others for consistency in tone and approach. Mr. Colin ensured all contents were calibrated to harmonize with the existing laws of the State of Hawaii. In doing so, Mr. Colin ensured new standards would be implemented, as intended, and that conflicts with existing provisions would be avoided. Mr. Colin also prepared a supplemental recommendation on how the agency might include transfer of development rights regulations into the Mauka Area Rules.

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