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Friday, June 30, 2000

Trespassing gardeners
must vacate Waipahu lot

State plans to clear land

By Rosemarie Bernardo


State housing official Sharyn Miyashiro has warned Waipahu gardeners that they will have to move their vegetable plots.

The acting executive director of the state Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii said the agency will be looking at alternatives of clearing the entire five-acre lot of the overgrowth or keeping the overgrowth under control.

An exact date has yet to be scheduled for the farmers to clear out their garden plots on the lot planned for senior or assisted living housing . There are no immediate plans for development.

State Rep. Roy Takumi (D, Pearl City, Waipahu) organized a meeting yesterday at the Leeward YMCA among the farmers, residents, police and employees of the state agency. Last week, state workers planned to clear a portion of the lot that would have destroyed Rev. Ephraim and Jovita Amodo's garden plot. But the agency postponed the clearing to listen to the worries of residents and farmers.

"They are trespassing," said Miyashiro. Due to the overgrowth of plants on the lot, it has caused security issues, health hazards and a liability for the state, she said.

"Because of the recent burglary that took place, all of the overgrowth is presenting a problem," said Miyashiro.

The cleanup was in response to a resident's complaint that overgrowth provided cover for the burglars.

"In all fairness, you guys never maintained the land," said a Waipahu resident, who asked that her name not be used, to state agency employees.

The resident's home was burglarized a month ago. "They (burglars) came in through state property and left through state property," she said. Jewelry, money, PlayStation games and a bag were taken.

"Where's our protection, we're homeowners?" she said.

"They need to be accountable for their land," said the resident.

The resident, who lived in her home with her family for 13 years, recently installed an alarm system and changed the locks. "The fear doesn't go away," she said.

The lot is fenced on three sides except along the residential area. It's about 675 feet long along the homeowners' side, said project manager Stan Fujimoto.

For Rev. Amodo of the Filipino United Church of Christ, he said they were given authorization from the head of the state agency years ago to plant vegetables on the vacant lot as long as they followed rules such as no burning of materials.

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