On Friday, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources authorized the Department of Land and Natural Resources to proceed with emergency rockfall mitigation work to address unstable boulders on the hillside above Kula Kolea Place in Kalihi Valley.
The board said it is taking this action to mitigate an exigent situation that is hazardous to the health and safety of the public.
"We will start work as quickly as possible, and will be notifying residents before work commences," said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.
Some, or all, of the seven homes may need to be evacuated during the helicopter activities to fly out rock and debris material off the hillside.
DLNR and its contractor will notify homeowners of the specific day and times when evacuation may be needed.
The budgeted amount for this project is approximately $150,000.
Once the agreement with hillside landowners is executed, the contractor can start work, tentatively next week.
The board’s action is in response to multiple boulders that fell on the night of April 12 at this location, and damaged three individual properties below.
The next day, an onsite inspection by a geotechnical consultant for the DLNR determined, using GPS technology, that the boulders fell from privately owned property, and not a state parcel at the top of the ridge.
The inspection also revealed that other boulders on private land pose a potential hazard of falling in the near future. It was recommended that those boulders be stabilized or removed.
Out of concern for public health and safety, the board authorized DLNR Chairperson William Aila to sign a right of entry agreement with the private property owners of the hillside, William and Shirley Jacinto and the Church of Christ of The Redeemed of the Lord.
The agreement by landowners will allow a state contractor to enter the property and conduct demolition and removal of boulders, including hauling and disposal of debris material.
The board also issued a declaration of exemption for the project from the preparation of an Environmental Assessment under the requirements of Hawaii Revised Statutes , Chapter 343, and Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 11, Chapter 200, to allow mitigation of hazardous conditions that present imminent danger and that are necessary to protect public health, safety, welfare, or public trust resources.
The board, after considering the potential effects of the proposed project as provided by HRS Chapter 343 and HAR Chapter 11-200, determined that the project will probably have minimal or no significant effect on the environment and is, therefore, exempt.
Governor Neil Abercrombie requested that in the interest of public safety, DLNR conduct a rock fall mitigation remediation project.
DLNR Chairman Aila was assured by Sen. Donna Mercado Kim and Rep. John Mizuno that the costs to the department for this mitigation work will be restored.