Punchbowl neighbors feud over retaining wall, felled trees

Punchbowl Property Dispute
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction of a retaining wall in a Punchbowl neighborhood has spurred a feud between neighbors, and is raising concerns about long-term erosion issues.

Last Tuesday, resident Terry Kakazu said she and her husband were startled when construction workers next door trampled onto their property to build the wall.

"They came in here with a tractor and bust all my stuff and they claimed they weren't in here," said Kakazu, who owns HASR Bistro downtown.

"They didn't ask. They had already cut the trees down and took all my fence off. They even took my gate off."

The construction crews worked for neighbor Dr. Raymond Kang, who got into hot water with the city last year for removing dozens of trees without the proper permits.

Kang had acquired the former Tennent Art Foundation Gallery on Prospect Street and cut down about 50 trees.

Because his property lies in the Punchbowl Special District,he needed a permit to take down any trees that have a trunk diameter of six inches or more.

Now, Kakazu and other neighbors worry that the tree cutting is creating potential erosion problems.

"He said his land is settling. You can see the things cracking because of the erosion so he has to put up a retaining wall," said Kakazu.

"One big rain or something it will all come down because the soil is soft. My bedroom is directly below all of the boulders so I've been sleeping in the living room for the last week. Seriously, my husband says I'm crazy but I'm not taking any chances."

Kakazu said a city inspector told her last week that the Kang's retaining wall is supposed have a concrete foundation and steel reinforcement bars, but doesn't.

She estimated the trampling by the workers caused thousand of dollars in property damage, but the felled trees also carried sentimental value for her and her dad, former local bank executive K.C. Oh.

"My dad and I planted theses when he was alive," she said. "He wanted it here to block the view, because he would sit back there and he didn't want to look at this building because it was abandoned for many years."

Kang could not be reached for comment.

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