Landslide Fears Lead to Hillside Development Protest - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Landslide Fears Lead to Hillside Development Protest

Baron Lee Baron Lee
Phil Manly Phil Manly
Kent Untermann Kent Untermann
Protesters in Aina Haina on Tuesday Protesters in Aina Haina on Tuesday

(KHNL) - The hillsides above Aina Haina in east Oahu are unstable. That's what a group of residents there claim and it s why they re fighting a proposed development in their neighborhood.

During the constant heavy rains earlier this year, the foundations of some homes collapsed or shifted. The rain also caused falling rocks and landslides in the area. Many people who had lived in their homes for decades, said this was the first time anything like this happened. Now, residents want the city to stop the development, to prevent it from ever happening again.

The developer says there is a big difference between homes that had foundation problems and the proposed development. But they understand the residents concerns.

Baron Lee has called this Aina Haina hillside home all his life. And when it storms, his nights are restless.

"We still get up and check, and make sure our drains are not clogged from the debris, which would cause another flooding" says Lee.

He is afraid of more restless nights if a proposed development above his house goes forward. He s one of a group of residents calling on the city to stop it.

"People can look at this location, look at the slope up here that they want to develop, and you look at that and say does this make sense?" says Phil Manly of Aina Haina Hui.

"Hey it's slim pickings. It s a beautiful view there, there s some challenges with it, but we are developing this site just like they developed Kiai Place 40 years ago" says developer Kent Untermannn.

The plan is to extend Kiai Place, cut away the hillside, and build three townhomes and two three-story condos. The developer says that the soil analysis has already been done. It found that the foundation is rock, so it ll be as solid as the other homes already here. The developer claims the houses that are slipping are below, and have clay foundations.

"It s got beautiful views, there are some challenges and we're gonna have to be very careful about what we do" say Untermann.

"I just hope that he makes a prudent decision and not jeopardize the safety of the neighboring community" says Lee.

"All Lee wants is to make sure his home and family are safe, and he can get a good nights sleep. The city can stop the development if it feels the site is not safe. There was an October 9th deadline for that decision, but the developer got a one month extension. They say they want to meet with the residents, and calm any fears before moving forward.

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