Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 75° Today's Paper

Kokua Line

Waimanalo cell phone tower on ag land got OK from city

Question: How does a cell phone tower get built on agricultural land? T-Mobile erected it in Waimanalo next to where people grow crops and raise bees. We’re worried how the electromagnetic waves will affect the vegetables.

Answer: The city Department of Planning and Permitting in 2007 granted T-Mobile West Corp. a conditional use permit to erect the 85-foot tower on agricultural-zoned property at 41-708 Kakaina St.

"As far as we are concerned, they have a valid CUP and they have a waiver for the height of the structure," said Bob Bannister, assistant chief of the department’s Land Use Permits Division. "We consider it a utility installation."

The waiver allowed the tower, disguised as a pine tree, to be 60 feet higher than the 25-foot height limit "to provide unobstructed telecommunication service to the public," the department said in granting the waiver.

In approving the tower, the department said it "would not alter the character of the area in a manner substantially limiting, impairing or precluding" use of surrounding properties for agricultural purposes and described the tower as a "clean" facility "that does not generate fumes, contamination or waste."

In the end, the department concluded, "The proposed facility is intended to expand and enhance the telecommunications coverage for the island of Oahu and thereby contribute to the general welfare of the community at large and surrounding neighborhood."

The permit had nine conditions, among them requiring T-Mobile to appear before the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board, which it did in September and November 2007.

The neighborhood board "voted against (the tower) because the community was really angry" and concerned about radiation and other safety issues, as well as it being on agricultural land, said board chairman Wilson Kekoa Ho.

"We know we’re just an advisory board and we don’t have any power, but we do have the voice of the residents," he said. "It’s a sad day for the community."

If you have concerns that T-Mobile has not complied with conditions of the permit, write to the Land Use Permits Division (650 S. King St., Honolulu 96813) and an inspector can be sent to the site, Bannister said.

Question: How long does a moving violation or DUI stay on your traffic abstract?

Answer: For now, it will stay on indefinitely.

We explained previously (archives.starbulletin.com/content/20100424_stationary_violations) that the state Judiciary has tried three times to get the Legislature to amend the law to limit the time moving violations are kept on the abstracts.

The proposal was to return to the previous practice of listing moving violations for three years, or 10 years for cases involving alcohol or drugs. Only permanent driver’s license revocations would be reported indefinitely. However, the proposal has failed to gain legislative approval.


To the refuse driver who empties the trash bin, but isn’t careful when he puts it back down. Sometimes the containers are overturned on the side. It’s very hard for a 90-year-old person like me to try to lift the container to roll it back into my yard. — Elderly Homeowner

Drivers are expected to place the cart in the upright position. The city Department of Environmental Services advises reporting the problem to your area collection yard. For phone numbers, go to www.opala.org/solid_waste/contact/contact_us.html or call 768-3401.

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 e-mail kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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