Curb appeal or city violation? Makakilo residents confused over - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Curb appeal or city violation? Makakilo residents confused over community rules

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MAKAKILO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Residents in Makakilo say they've been cited for having plants and objects other than grass in the planting strips fronting their homes. 

The citations are causing confusion as many say they had no idea they were breaking the city's building code.

A planting strip is the piece of property between the sidewalk and the street.   

Richard Griggs has lived on Hunekai Street since 1993 and says his strip has been neatly landscaped for the last 24 years.  

But on Thursday, he says a city inspector came by. 

"She said the only thing you can have in a median strip is grass. No gravel, no plants," Griggs said. 

Like Griggs, hundreds of people in Makakilo have plants, bricks, bushes, even trees in their planting strips because they believe the homeowners association requires them to.

But Griggs says only certain residents on his street were given violation notices. 

"At the very most, maybe 10 people got it. I asked why we were the only ones being ticketed and she said because it's a complaint and nobody complained about the others. I don't want to stir up a mess, but this seems discriminatory," he said.

The city says there was a compliant that some bushes prevented cars from parking along the curb, but not all violation notices are based on complaints. 

It says unauthorized plants and objects in the planting strip can also become safety hazards for pedestrians, damage roadways and sidewalks, and affect utility lines.  

More citations could be coming, but residents say the city and association need to get on the same page.

The Palehua Community Association's guidelines homeowners tell residents to "landscape and maintain" the planting strip in a "neat and attractive condition." Simply pulling weeds is not enough.

"They might as well cite half the community. There's people with trees that have been there for at least 20 years. It's quite confusing."

According to the citations, residents who received notices can either apply for an exemption with the city or they must remove everything from the planting strip within 30 days of the citation.

Anything in violation after that may result in fines. 

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