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New hillside developments triggering rockfall fears in Palolo - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

New hillside developments triggering rockfall fears in Palolo

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HONOLULU -

It's on 10th Avenue in Palolo Valley where a hillside development is taking shape. What used to be a single-family home will now be four units.

Neighbors on either side of the construction site called their area lawmaker for help.  This is the third new hillside structure on this street that has begun cutting into the hillside with heavy equipment.

"We are concerned whether or not the vibrations on the mountain may cause anything to loosen up and roll down because we have had three big rocks roll down the mountain in the past 7- 8 years from here, to the end of the block," said long-time Palolo resident Jo Okita.

In fact, just three houses from a new home has been constructed is where a boulder remains in basement after it came crashing down narrowing missing a child, according to neighbors.
 
"It is a major concern. Palolo is made up with adobe soil which contracts and expands when its wet and dry, so you are going to see some shifting of our infrastructure and our mountains,” said Rep. Calvin Say.

From day one, safety has been an issue.  Neighbors say in May, construction crews began demolishing the single family home without properly disconnecting power lines.  Not long after, heavy equipment fell off a flatbed blocking the roadway and police had to be called in.

Neighbors on either side complained crews have gone too far.  They said you can see where  crews cut into their property, even destroying the surveyor stakes.  Okita, whose lived in the valley for more than 3 decades, now fears it may be too late to stop the structure.  She worries about flooding and whether the four homes will become rentals without enough parking.

"It's like a product recall.  You can’t do anything about it until you find out it’s a boarding home, or a dormitory," said Okita.

Rep. Calvin Say is calling on the city to overhaul its zoning codes. It’s something that hasn’t been done since the 1980s.  He's watching Palolo quadruple in density in some areas and thinks that property owners be required to provide enough off street parking for their renters.
 
“Yes, I surely believe they should. Because where are they going to park  on the streets then encroach in someone's private driveway? I have had calls in regard to neighbors being so upset about it," Say said.

He also worries because water main breaks have become more frequent in the valley with so many new developments springing up for both long and short term rentals.

“Waikiki has already crossed the Ala Wai Canal so we are seeing more of these vacation rentals," said Say.

Say fears things will become worse before they will get better and he is putting pressure on the city to take action.

"Let's have a discussion on this issue because more, and more people are getting uncomfortable with these big homes being built,” said Say.

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