City, state sued
over damage by
overflowing stream

A Kaneohe couple whose backyard stream has overflowed several times since 2002, washing away more than 2,000 square feet of their Anoi Road property, has sued the state and city, alleging officials failed to maintain upstream portions of the waterway.

The Polands, whose property at 45-014 Anoi Road originally was a 9,400-square-foot lot, say in a suit filed in Circuit Court yesterday that city- and state-owned portions of Keaahala Stream have been "overburdened" by several projects, including the Keaahala Road Widening Project, and new buildings at Kaneohe District Park and Windward Community College.

The suit said the sections, upstream of the Polands' property, also have not been maintained.

City and state officials declined comment yesterday, saying they had not had a chance to review the allegations.

The Polands say their property's erosion, most of which occurred during this past winter's heavy rains, left a portion of their home's foundation exposed. A section of their home now juts out above a 10-foot stream bank.

"I've had to do all the work and do all the construction to prevent my house from falling in," said Darrell Poland, who declined to estimate how much money he's spent to fix problems associated with the erosion.

The couple is seeking damages and injunctive relief in their suit.

Poland said he decided to file suit after more than 10 months of trying to get help from the city and state for the problem with no results. Poland said officials have declined to look at the issue because the portion of stream behind his home that overflows is owned by him, not the city or state.

City and state officials have told the Star-Bulletin that helping a homeowner whose privately owned stream has overflowed would set a precedent. But Poland alleges that the city and state contributed to his stream flooding and should help cover its damage to his property.

Poland alleges that his stream started to overflow only after city and state construction projects got under way upstream.

The Polands moved into the home in 1996 and hadn't seen the stream get deeper than 3 feet, even after consistent rains, until 2002, Darrell Poland said. In late 2003 and early 2004, when heavy rains drenched much of the islands, the Polands' stream swelled "well over 20 feet deep," he said.



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