Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tree-trimming by
HECO is based on safety

Question: Can you help us with a problem with an electric line on Chester Way in Aiea? I've complained to the electric company three times. There is a tree that is weighing down a line, pushing it on the lower lines. Nobody dares to fix it because of the line. I asked when the electric company would fix it, but they wouldn't say. My neighbor is frightened for his child, his property and his cars, and we're all worried about a fire. It really needs to be taken care of.

Answer: A Hawaiian Electric Co. crew will be pruning the eucalyptus tree in your neighbor's yard that's touching the line within the next two weeks, said HECO spokesman Fred Kobashikawa.

According to a company forester who investigated the situation, the tree does not present an immediate safety concern or threaten electrical service, he said. Company records showed only one call from the property owner about the tree.

Tree pruning work involving electrical lines is "prioritized according to safety and electrical reliability concerns," Kobashikawa said. He emphasized that HECO is not in the business of tree trimming unless there is a safety or reliability issue.

"We encourage residents to be aware of tree growth habits when selecting trees for their yards," he said. The concern is not only with branches touching overhead utility wires, but also with roots damaging any underground system.

Call HECO at 543-7836 either to get advice on what kind of trees to plant or not to plant, or to have someone assess what options are available regarding mature trees that may intrude into utility lines.

Q: I use the ocean in Black Point-Diamond Head area and usually end up parking on one of the streets there. Sometimes parking is pretty limited. One homeowner has installed a second driveway, which has taken away one parking space. Now he's parking in front of his second driveway, so it's like he's made a reserved stall. If everyone did that, there would be little on-street parking left for people who didn't live in the area. Is it legal to have two driveways, and is it legal to park in front of your own driveway?

A: Many people may be surprised to learn that blocking a driveway, even if it's your own, potentially "is a citable offense," according to Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

That offense would fall under the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, 15-14.1, which covers prohibited parking areas, including not parking within four feet of a driveway, she said.

However, since the law is meant to address the matter of someone obstructing a driveway, most people wouldn't complain about their own cars fronting their driveway.

Meanwhile, two driveways are allowed on a residential property if their combined width does not exceed 25 feet, a city building inspector explained. That combined width does not include the usual four-foot "flares" leading from the street to the driveway, he said.

If you have further complaints about the driveways, or suspect they exceed the allowable widths, call the complaints section of the city Department of Customer Services, 523-4381.


Useful phone numbers

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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E-mail to City Desk

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