Thursday, July 31, 2014         


 Print   Email   Comment | View 10 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Floodway lots cannot be sold

Residents of floodway homes live with heavy restrictions as mitigation ideas over the years have gone nowhere

By Andrew Gomes

LAST UPDATED: 08:48 p.m. HST, Nov 06, 2013

20130920-3138 BSN KAHUKU VILLAGE
Junior Primacio, unofficial mayor of Kahuku and former Kahuku Plantation union boss, talks about the history of Kahuku Village, the former sugar plantation housing where he still lives.  A developer is trying to develop new homes in the village and many of the residents are being evicted, though not Junior.  This is Jr. in front of his home.  PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA.  SEPT. 20, 2013.

As one of Oahu's low-lying coastal areas not far from the mountains, Kahuku is a natural for flooding.

When the Kahuku Plantation Co. was building housing for its laborers in the early 1900s, it ended up constructing many of the homes in the middle of a floodway.

There were no rules at the time preventing construction in a floodway, but now the city forbids it.


The former plantation camp, Kahuku Village V, was sold to a Florida developer in 2006 and now is being split between those who support the developer's plans and those opposed.

Today: Homeowners vs. renters

Monday: Fighting eviction

Tuesday: Deep ties

Twenty-five of the 72 homes that make up Kahuku Village V, the biggest surviving piece of the Kahuku plantation camps, are in the floodway.

If any one of those 25 homes falls down, the owners will not be allowed to rebuild. If residents in the floodway want to fix their homes, they are limited to $1,000 a year in repairs.

Florida developer Continental Pacific LLC was introduced to this problem in 2006 when it decided to buy Kahuku Village V, or KV5. The developer said it didn't realize the "extent" of the flood issue, which affected its original development plan and was a factor in its move to evict 25 of the KV5 families.

However, the flood problem has been a well-studied one.

Former KV5 owner Campbell Estate commissioned a flood control study in 1985 as it was planning to sell the homes to residents.

That study by engineering firm R.M. Towill Corp., the same firm that prepared a draft environmental assessment for Continental for its development plan, presented mitigation proposals that included creating storm water retention basins upstream and a $4 million plan for a new bridge and culvert along one side of KV5. Even levees were considered.

Campbell Estate didn't implement any of Towill's proposals because of economic and other reasons, according to a 1993 report by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.


After a 1991 flood that caused $1 million in damage to Kahuku High and Intermediate School inland of KV5, a task force was formed and recommended widening Malaekahana Stream and running culverts under or around the village.

In 1993, DLNR recommended implementing Towill's $4 million bridge and culvert proposal along with an internal drainage system for the village.

Neither of those fixes were carried out.

Other ideas floated over the years but not implemented included building homes on stilts and adding 250,000 cubic yards of fill to raise the village.

So when city officials raised concerns over a plan by Continental to sell KV5 residents their homes, it was no shock to many familiar with the village that the flooding problem surfaced again.

Without flood mitigation, the city wouldn't allow Continental to sell the 25 homes in the floodway to their occupants. So Continental offered those tenants vacant lots outside the floodway for $150,000.

Nearly all the floodway residents passed on the offer, and Continental moved to evict them in December. Continental said it had to evict the residents because the city wouldn't allow 25 new lots outside the floodway unless the floodway homes were removed by 2015.


With 25 Kahuku families facing eviction, the city changed its position.

In March, the city said the floodway homes, though still at risk of potentially deadly destruction, deserved protection as a "plantation community subdivision" for former sugar plantation worker families.

"The tenants in the (plantation community subdivision) are for the most part elderly and have occupied their existing homes for many years," the Department of Planning and Permitting said in its decision. "Because of their advanced age, relocation to a new environment can be traumatic; and, for that reason, they should be allowed to spend their remaining years in their existing homes."

The department said Continental can create 25 new lots outside the floodway for sale while allowing floodway residents to remain until they die, or by Dec. 31, 2040, at the latest.

In response, Continental rescinded eviction notices to floodway residents provided that they agree not to pursue legal action. Some, but not all, agreed.


 Print   Email   Comment | View 10 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
iwanaknow wrote:
What comes out in the end will NOT be what went in the beginning.
on November 3,2013 | 05:57AM
Mike174 wrote:
Hmmm, so Campbell was able to sell it, not pay for or fix any flooding problems and pass it along to Continental (make a bunch of $$) and then pass the liabilities on to DLNR (that would be us, the taxpayers). Yea, the Trusts, again, looking out for us... to pay... and pay.
on November 3,2013 | 06:22AM
false wrote:
The problem came after the plantation put in the houses. And the cost - the price to fix it - came after there was nothing left to fix it for - no mo plantation. And the city just kicked the can down the road, down the road, down the road. When the problem came up, they said - who us? Not us, it's the rules. New rules? Yes, but rules.
on November 3,2013 | 07:03AM
false wrote:
Wait, there was one way out: sell the sand. The whole thing is filled with sand, and there's a ton of money to be made selling sand. Just ask the Mormon church how much they got selling the sand under their student center when they built it. A ton of money. Oh. New news... it's illegal to sell sand. Against the rules. No can. So no money. But you gotta follow the rules, and they put you up the creek without a paddle.
on November 3,2013 | 07:07AM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
Contractors can buy sand from Continental Pacific land in Kahuku. We've been told makai side from the windmills.
on November 3,2013 | 09:27AM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
This is a full-blown publicity stunt for Continental Pacific. There are two other articles today. Star Advertiser - how much they pay you?? I googled Kahuku plantation evictions. This is bad stuff. The attorney who represents Continental Pacific was the committee chair for Kirk Caldwell's mayoral race!!!!! ---Mufi Hannemann connections to Continental to Kirk Caldwell to his campaign chair. So hewa! The $150K could become $500 - those plantation people cannot handle that kind of payments.
on November 3,2013 | 09:23AM
mokebla wrote:
The real problem of the flooding came after the closing of the plantation. No one was keeping the river and the flumes clear and water runs down hill. I grew up there my dad work there 42yrs. Everyone in Kahuku who was born and raised there knows that. Sonny Maghanoy the father Glenn Maghanoy was the one who kept it clear so Kahuku or should I say New Camp wouldn't get flooded. You can ask him, Sonny is still alive and living in Kahuku. He is Mr. Kahuku and he can tell you the history of Kahuku.
on November 3,2013 | 01:08PM
Advsurfsail wrote:
Lame. Don't build in sand. Should be against law the beaches belong to the public!
on November 3,2013 | 06:43AM
false wrote:
DPP changed their mind? If they had their heads on straight to begin with, none of this grief would have come to pass. This is the law of rules, once in, they get applied, sometimes mindlessly.
on November 3,2013 | 07:00AM
false wrote:
Same thing happening at Sunset Beach with the errosion. DLNR, et. al. - NO, NO NO. Bad, bad, bad. Losing your land - too bad, there's nothing you can do because we own the beach. And, by the way, you stil have to pay taxes on all your land, and at prices for beach front land. So pay us, but we don't do anything for you. Auwe
on November 3,2013 | 07:00AM
Latest News/Updates
Political Radar
`Toss up’

Political Radar

Political Radar
Hilton; Plaza Club

Political Radar
Direct mail

Political Radar
Direct mail

Aperture Cafe
Ramadan #latergram