County razes Hawaiian homes

SUBHEAD: Haumea, Kanei and Harada families claim the land was given to their families to continue farming taro. Image above: GoogleEarth view of mouth of Wainiha River. Red parcel where homes bulldozed. Yellow parcels are taro fields. Purple parcel (at top) Robinson property. Click to enlarge. By Juan Wilson on 5 February 2010 - The Garden Island reports that County of Kauai, following complaints by unidentified neighbors, bulldozed several homes built by native Hawaiians on acreage fronting on Wainiha Beach. The local families living there have been tending taro fields mauka of the Kuhio Highway. Details are available in the TGI article included below. The County claims dwellings torn down were on County land. This is likely because the beach has been pushed back so far that the original lots are now out on the sand of the shorebreak. People living there may have simply retreated. Needless to say the dynamics of shoreline retreat will become an increasingly important issue regarding property rights as global warming, climate change and rising oceans escalate. Because the surrounding 24 acres around the dwellings was in the County's name, another solution than rooting out the local Hawaiians could have been accommodated. It should be kept in mind that the land "owned" by the State of Hawaii and County governments goes back to Hawaiian land that was seized in 1893. That land is supposedly managed by the state for the good of the people of Hawaii. One solution to situation would have simply allowed a realignment of the property boundaries mauka to a proper shoreline setback from the beach. Everybody might have been happy. The Hawaiians could then continue to farm taro and we all might have learned something about how to live together on this island. But I think there is another agenda afoot. The .292 acre lot in question is valued at $43,000. According to the County website ( the 2009 land taxes amounted to$319 for the year. Even though the tax payments were in arrears, there was not much income for the County to collect there with its present use. And note, as far as fairness goes the 229 acre parcel (TMK 458002003) across the Kuhio Highway owned by Bruce and Keith Robinson is valued at only $91,700 with 2009 land taxes of $823. The Robinson property is 100 times as big pays only 2.5 times as much in tax. More to the point; the County could choose to have a vision of the future that would accommodate Kauai residents building their own houses and doing subsistence farming. The county-boyz are too hungry for tax money and not yet enough for food to see the logic of that. Let's hope that the County is not planning on selling the property in question to the highest bidder (for another luxury mansion on the beach) just for a higher tax collection. As as afterthought I decided to mention that looking at the GoogleEarth image one can see that the Kuhio Highway right of way boundary (on the TMK maps) is out in the ocean as it passes by the area bulldozed and heads around the northern point on Wainiha Bay It appears the actual highway pavement is on the Robinson parcel. So much for staying on your own property.
County bulldozes Hawaiian dwellings By Paul Curtis on 5 February 2010 in The Garden Island - ( Several Native Hawaiian families had their dwellings bulldozed Thursday after county officials determined they were illegally erected on county park land along Wainiha Bay and Wainiha River.

Several Native Hawaiians, including activist Keola Alalem and many of those whose structures were destroyed, contend the county doesn’t own the land, that it had been given to Native Hawaiian families who had been tending the land and living there in a system known as “kuleana lands” tenancy.

“The county bulldozing everything,” said Alalem, who was on-scene Thursday morning.

“This is serious,” said Alalem. “These people going be homeless, land-less,” he said of 10 to 15 Native Hawaiian families he said were farming taro on the mauka side of Kuhio Highway, and living on both sides of the highway just north of the single-lane twin bridges over Wainiha River.

“They knocked down hale (houses), shacks and tents” belonging to Haumea, Kanei and Harada families, who claim the land was given to their families to continue farming.

Repeated efforts to reach Haumea and Harada family members for comment were unsuccessful by press time.

County real-property tax records indicate Rose A. Andrade and others including some Haumea and Harada family members own a .292-acre parcel on Wainiha Bay that is referenced by tax-map-key number in some county communications to a Deilon Haumea, family member and representative for that parcel.

A voice-mail message left for Deilon was not returned by press time.

Unofficial reports indicate that coastal erosion may have caused loss of land involving some of the four beach-front parcels along Wainiha Bay, including Andrade’s, possibly causing the land owners to move structures away from the ocean and, possibly, onto county property.

Alalem said some of the involved families received several letters of foreclosure from the county, with a total of around $300,000 in back real property taxes owed.

The county plans to auction off the non-park lands, and there appears to be a willing buyer, said Alalem.

“The mayor of Kaua‘i could have had a big influence on stopping this action,” said Alalem, adding that Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. likely is related to some of the people whose structures were demolished Thursday.

Some of those people may have been 11 or 12 years behind on their county real-property-tax payments, said Alalem.

But Beth Tokioka, Carvalho’s executive assistant, said Thursday that “any inference that this clean-up effort is connected to non-payment of property taxes is completely false.”

County officials, said Tokioka, in the summer of last year began receiving complaints about alleged illegal structures and people living in the structures at Wainiha County Park.

Complainants asked that the structures be removed, and county officials conducted a survey of the property and verified that the illegal structures were indeed on county park land, said Tokioka.

The county Planning Department also conducted an inspection and noted that illegal structures were in place on county park property and should be removed.

On Jan. 11 the county posted notices of violation on the structures, but the owners refused to remove the structures and alleged that they were on private property, said Tokioka.

On Jan. 13 the county faxed an official notice to the owner (Deilon Haumea) asking for the structures to be removed, but offered to delay county removal of the structures until Jan. 31, to give the owner time to do their own survey, said Tokioka.

As of Jan. 31 county Department of Parks and Recreation officials confirmed that the owner of the structures had not conducted a survey, and so the removal work was scheduled for Thursday, Tokioka said.

Another 72-hour notice was posted on the structures on Feb. 1 to alert the owner of the cleanup work, said Tokioka.

The structures were removed, and Parks and Recreation officials were expected to return to the park today to complete the cleanup, Tokioka said.

The cleanup involved a coordinated effort between the county Department of Parks and Recreation, the Kaua‘i Police Department, the Planning Department, and the County Attorney’s Office over a period of six months, and included numerous efforts to communicate with the owner of the structures to have them removed voluntarily, she said.

The Kaua‘i Humane Society was also notified, and an enforcement officer was dispatched to remove three dogs from one of the occupants on county property, she said.


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