POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 14, 2011
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.