Kalapana Gardens can't control lava, but may control sightseers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kalapana Gardens residents can't control lava, but may control sightseers

Hawaii County Mayor, Billy Kenoi Hawaii County Mayor, Billy Kenoi
Capt. Sam Jelsma, Hawaii County Police Department Capt. Sam Jelsma, Hawaii County Police Department

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

KALAPANA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents of the Kalapana Gardens subdivision on the Big Island of Hawaii have had to deal with lava from Kilauea volcano coming close to their homes. But they've also had to put up with hundreds of sight-seers who want to see the lava flow.

The subdivision has approximately 25 homes, and is private property, and there are signs posted that say so. But residents said there are still problems with trespassers, especially those who are driving through the subdivision.

They met Friday with Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and other county officials over the problem.

"How do we manage the traffic flow that comes in?" Kenoi told residents, "How do we manage people not intruding on other people's space and property?"

Part of the plan will be more signs warning against trespassing. The county also repaired a gate at the subdivision entrance. Residents will be given keys to a lock for the gate, which they hope will keep vehicles from illegally entering the subdivision.

"If we can take mitigation measures, we can take steps to at least have control, right?" Kenoi said. "So at least we can ensure that somebody not going just drive down here and pile through ere and drive up to your house at midnight or one in the morning."

Police also told residents they should have no trespassing signs posted at their homes, and that they can bring charges against trespassers.

"If somebody approaches you, tell them, 'You know what? This is private property, I'm telling you you're trespassing on my private property and leave,'" Capt. Sam Jelsma of the Hawaii County Police Department told residents. "if they refuse to leave at that point, then yes, you have a trespass case.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said the plan will take effect when residents get the keys. Officials say they plan to meet again with residents in about two weeks to see if the plan is working.

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