Overgrown Manoa Trees Trimmed, But Still No Owners

Paul Wallrabenstein
Paul Wallrabenstein

By Leland Kim

MANOA (KHNL) -- Workers finally cut down some overgrown trees along Manoa Road near Waakaua Street Tuesday morning. But the lingering question of who owns the road still hasn't been resolved.

The sound of buzzing chainsaws is music to Manoa residents' ears. Crews chopped down some overgrown trees along Manoa Road, and turned them into mulch. People who live here said the trees are dangerous.

"Our neighbors have small children that they don't even want them to go out in the backyard, because the trees could fall and hurt the kid and branches come down all the time," said Paul Wallrabenstein, a longtime Manoa resident.

That's exactly what happened two years ago. A tree fell on a nearby house, crushing a young girl's head.

Trees have also damaged other homes in this neighborhood. This house suffered roof damage, an eleven thousand dollar expense for the owners.

So who's responsible for the trees? Everyone's pointing fingers, and no one is claiming ownership.

The interested parties include the city and county of Honolulu, the state of Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools, Paradise Park, and the Catholic Church. After two meetings, no one has stepped forward to accept responsibility.

"It really needs to be settled because that roadway has a very steep slope on this side of Manoa road, and it's almost inaccessible for the homeowners along the strip to maintain it and take care of it," said Wallrabenstein.

But some progress has been made. The involved parties chipped in for this $15,000 tree trimming project.

So the people who live here wait, and hope the dispute gets resolved before some else gets hurt from falling trees.

Lawyers are now in the mix, and the involved parties are scheduled to meet in late August or early September. If no one claims ownership this next go around, it may end up going to circuit court for a judge to decide.