Firm is fined for heavy gear on gulch ag lot


POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2008

Question: We've noticed expanded activity in Kipapa Gulch, in the area that you can see from Kamehameha Highway, below the bridge between Waipio and Mililani. We can see chicken coops (for “;fighting chickens”;?), a lot of old construction vehicles, machinery and lumber. They seem to keep growing and it's quite an eyesore. Also, there seems to be a health risk to the environment, i.e., leaking chemicals, etc. There are no signs saying whether this is private or government property. Who's responsible, and what is the area being used for? (Two complaints combined)

Answer: The 50-acre parcel at 94-500 Kamehameha Highway is zoned for agricultural use.

After checking into your complaints, the city Department of Planning and Permitting cited two of the property owners at that address.

One property, owned by Contractors' Equipment & Service Corp., was first cited four years ago, according to Mike Friedel, chief of the department's Code Compliance Section.

The company initially received a Notice of Violation from the city on Nov. 19, 2004, for storing and repairing heavy equipment and vehicles, he said.

Subsequently, a Notice of Order for civil fines was issued on March 2, 2005. The Notice of Order was referred to the city corporation counsel for follow-up.

When Friedel checked the status of the case in mid-October, he was told the Corporation Counsel's Office would be sending it back to the Planning and Permitting Department to take it to “;the next level of enforcement.”;

There was no explanation why no action was taken earlier.

Its being referred back to his office would mean placing a lien on the property because the violations had “;not been resolved,”; Friedel said last week.

As of Oct. 13 the company had been assessed $131,200 in fines, of which it paid $10,500, he said. The fines continue to accumulate at the rate of $100 a day.

Regarding health concerns, a building inspector contacted the state Department of Health's Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch on Sept. 30 for “;follow-up and investigation.”;

The complaint is still being investigated, although an initial inspection showed no areas where oil or anything else was leaking on the ground, Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo told us last week.

We called the company's Kipapa Gulch office and asked to speak to someone who could comment on the city's actions, but did not receive a call back.

The owners of the property with the chicken coops, Ivan and Fay Toyama, were issued a Notice of Violation by a building inspector on Oct. 2 because the coops were built without a building permit, Friedel said.

They were given until next Monday to correct the situation—remove the coops or get a permit—or face the possibility of civil fines, he said.

Ivan Toyama said the property is subleased to tenants, who “;just raise the chickens for pets.”;

He said most of the coops were in compliance, with just a few requiring building permits.

What the chickens in the 100 to 150 coops were used for was not addressed by the inspector, Friedel said.