Kakaako businesses stuck in road war - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kakaako businesses stuck in road war

Kakaako roads in question Kakaako roads in question
KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Kakaako Land Company claims it owns many of the streets in Kakaako.

A point in dispute. Nevertheless, Kakaako Land rents parking stalls for a monthly fee and tows away trespassers.

"We are in a dilemma. We don't know what to do," Bob Emami said.

He and dozens of other business owners received letters from the city that warn since the roads are considered privately owned, road repairs will stop unless Kakaako Land removes its Reserved Parking signs by Oct. 1.

"From tomorrow, the City and County absolutely refuses to service our roads," Emami said.

That means potholes will go unfilled, there's a drainage problem and safety concerns because the streets have no sidewalks.

"We cannot do the work. It's not a matter of choice," said Ross Sasamura, director of the city's Facility Maintenance department.

He insists the city is following its rules regarding private roads.

"If the signs were not there and if the restrictions were not present, then certainly that would open things back up again to the city doing the maintenance," he said.

Attorney Michael Carroll represents businesses suing Kakaako Land Company over the ownership issue. He estimates the road maintenance conflict affects about 100 business owners.

"So you're going to have a situation here where these businesses are going to have deteriorated roads and no real recourse to have these roads maintained or preserved to allow access to their businesses," he said.

"This is a major problem.  It needs to be addressed. And that's all we're asking," Emami said.

He and other Kakaako business owners want government leaders to settle the street ownership squabble once and for all. Emami said since Kakaako businesses pay taxes, they deserve road maintenance even if the signs stay put.

About 20 Kakaako business owners will hold a peaceful picket Thursday at 10:45 a.m. on the corner of Cooke and Kawaiahao streets. 

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