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Koko Crater rockfalls pose no threat to homes


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POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2009

QUESTION: From Lunalilo Home Road, bleached splotches can be seen on the mountainsides of Koko Crater. These splotches seem to be increasing and look like they might be aborted landslides. What are these and could there be recurrences? They don't look man-made.

ANSWER: There was quite a bit of concern among residents whose homes border the bottom slopes of Koko Crater after a large boulder sheared off a ridge on Feb. 6.

However, a consultant's geotechnical engineering report sent to the city Department of Design and Construction concluded that that boulder and associated smaller boulders that may have sheared off at the same time “;do not present a hazard to downslope residences.”;

The consultant also looked at a boulder that tumbled down in 2003, and concluded that a ravine and roadway cut would prevent boulders from moving down to the homes.

“;The report does much to dispel the community fears about the rockslide,”; said Greg Knudsen, chairman of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board.

Asked about your observations about “;bleached splotches,”; Knudsen said, “;Obviously, some slippage has occurred”; on Koko Crater, but the report seems to address concerns about whether “;any debris”; could actually damage homes, given the natural terrain and barriers.

He noted “;quite a trough”; fronting an area where rocks have the potential to fall. In another area that looks threatening, any rock or boulder would have to maneuver a “;zigzag course and lots of ups and downs and a long pathway ... then quite a barrier to leap before it got to any area where it could cause damage.”;

We were not able to get a comment from the Department of Design and Construction about the consultant's findings.

QUESTION: I was under the impression that “;pop-up”; tents were not allowed at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex due to its relative proximity to a military installation. But recently I attended my nephew's game there, and it appeared that every soccer field had two or more tents set up along the lines, some on both sides of the field. Was the restriction rescinded, or maybe an agreement was reached between the military and city?

ANSWER: Temporary structures, including umbrellas and small “;portable structures,”; are being allowed to give people shade and shelter, according to an official with the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

“;We recognize that it's hot out there in an open field, so the minimum use of temporary shelter has been allowed”; during games, he said.

However, they must be removed immediately afterward, he said.

Still barred are team tents or any large structure.

The soccer fields are on land the city leases from the Navy in an area called the “;the blast zone,”; so called because of its proximity to an armory at Pearl Harbor (see hsblinks.com/13f).

Under the lease agreement, no building or structure, including portable restrooms, are to be erected without the Navy's approval.

Although city officials began cracking down on those restrictions in June, the policy has since been eased to allow the small, temporary shelters, the parks official said.