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Changes by homeowners render streets unfit for city

By June Watanabe


Question: Would you please find out why, after more than eight years, some of the streets in Mililani Mauka have not yet been turned over to the city and county?

Answer: It's because streets have been modified by homeowners to the extent they no longer meet city standards.

"Generally, when a developer intends to have a private street ‘dedicated' to the city after construction, it must be designed and constructed to city roadway standards," said David Tanoue, director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting.

The city inspects the street to make sure it meets standards and is in acceptable condition before taking over ownership and maintenance, he said.

Tanoue noted that Castle & Cooke has been dedicating completed streets to the city for years.

The problem, or "challenge," he said, is that portions of some streets no longer meet the city's roadway standards because of "homeowner action."

Typical examples, he said, are modifications to the landscaping (planting) strips fronting homes, with street trees removed and the grass replaced with unauthorized materials.

Another example he gave is modifications to the concrete street curbs by some owners so that their rain gutters discharge directly into the street.

"Until such time that these deviations are resolved, the streets will remain in private ownership," Tanoue said.

The developer, Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc., says it is working with homeowners to comply with city standards and is dedicating roadways throughout Mililani Mauka to the city.

It anticipates "all roadway turnovers to be completed within the next year," said Garret Matsunami, director of engineering and site construction for Castle & Cooke.

A "large chunk" of Mililani Mauka streets have not yet been dedicated, he said. That's also the case in Royal Kunia and the Renaissance in Waipahu, two other Castle & Cooke developments.

The majority of roadways comply with city standards, with the exception of "minor roadway and sidewalk repairs," he said. "However, the largest outstanding item is noncompliant planting strips along the sidewalks fronting the homes."

While a homeowner's intent may be to improve the planting strips, "many do not understand the city's requirements, which is geared primarily for pedestrian safety," Matsunami noted.

"We are working with homeowners to meet compliance with the city's planting strip requirements," he said. Letters are being sent to homeowners, asking them to undo any changes or to get a city variance.

Matsunami explained that Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii typically pays for the design and construction of single-family subdivisions, with the infrastructure to be dedicated to the city. In addition to roadways, the infrastructure includes sewer, drainage, water and electrical systems; landscaping and trees; traffic controls; and street lights.


To impatient drivers. At 7:30 a.m. recently, I wanted to cross from the makai corner of Pohukaina Street to go to Ka‘ahumanu Hale (Circuit Court) on Punchbowl Street. The "T" intersection at Punchbowl and Pohukaina is hazardous for people and cars. I waited until both streets were empty as I use a cane and walk slowly. I took three steps into the crosswalk when a dark blue van came zooming off Punchbowl onto Pohukaina, only a foot away from me. I looked at the driver, but he wasn't even looking at me. I started screaming at him, but he never slowed or looked in my direction. Had I been two steps farther in the crosswalk, he would have struck me. Dear drivers, have a little kokua for the fragile bags of flesh and bones out walking and slow down. — Janet M. Dalbec

Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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Guill wrote:
Does Castle and Cook charge the Mauka homeowners for bringing roads to standards. Or do all of Mililani has to pay for this? Does this come out of my association fee and if so why when it was their mistakes that needs to be corrected.
on November 14,2011 | 04:30AM
soundofreason wrote:
GOOD points Guill ! Points that taxpayers should have answers to.
on November 14,2011 | 05:34AM
bender wrote:
I wonder if Meheula Parkway was deddicated to the city. This is the street that has trees growing in the median strip and whose roots protrude in the roadway, making it one of the worst roads around. Someone pays a lot of money each year to maintain this road, I wonder if it is the taxpayers of the county or if it is the homeowners in Mililani. Either way, it's a waste and the road should not hae been dedicated to the city (if it has been), or should not be scheduled for dedication to the city if it has not yet happened.
on November 14,2011 | 05:10AM
lee1957 wrote:
"Typical examples, he said, are modifications to the landscaping (planting) strips fronting homes, with street trees removed and the grass replaced with unauthorized materials." Such a perfect example of idiotic policies. I live in Enchanted Lake and have a "street tree" in the planting strip between my sidewalk and the street. I tried to get it removed, but the C&C would only trim it. Like most trees in similar locations, its planted just beneath the lines carrying power, cable and telephone. To top it off, when my neighbor renovated and his contractor had underground utilities marked, the propoane service runs parallel to the overhead utiliites. Evidently it is city "code" to plant trees on top of propane lines and under power lines. Brilliant!
on November 14,2011 | 06:36AM
stanislous wrote:
We got tired of the "City's Tree" tearing up the sidewalks in our neighborhood. The tree roots buckling and breaking sidewalks, trees never being trimmed. Well, after some quick work with a chain saw... the city had to come clean up what was left of their trees from blocking the street. The City finally got the idea and removed the rest of those kind of trees from our neighborhood. Question is... who in the world planted those kind of trees there in the first place.
on November 14,2011 | 07:58AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Probably Outdoor Circle or Jeremy Harris!
on November 14,2011 | 08:01PM
Graham wrote:
Mahalo to the maintenance crews at Punchbowl and Kaneohe Veterans Cemeteries for the great job.
on November 14,2011 | 09:13AM
mrluke wrote:
"Unfit for the City"? Compared to where???
on November 14,2011 | 07:14PM
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