By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Hawaii’s Department of Health is remaining steadfast on its position that Hawaiian Paradise Park control its dust problem.
Health officials told June Conant, president of the Hawaiian Paradise Park Owners Association, at a meeting in Honolulu on Thursday that it is still looking for some action by the group, which says it has few, if any, resources to address dusty roads on the sprawling subdivision.
The agency gave the association a notice of violation June 14 after noting “fugitive dust,” essentially airborne dirt particles that drifted onto nearby property.
The notice was the second given to the neighborhood group in the last two years.
No fines have been issued, but that’s still an option if no action is taken by the association, said Jill Stensrud, an enforcement supervisor with the DOH.
Penalties can involve issue field citations of $300 to $500 for the first violation, or a formal notice of violation of up to $25,000.
Stensrud said such penalties would be taken off the table if took action to control the dust, which could involve spraying water on the dirt roads during dry days.
Conant said that will be considered, though she noted the cost could be quite high considering the neighborhood has 77 miles of unpaved roads.
“We don’t know whether it’s feasible or not,” she said, adding she’ll have to talk with the board.
Hawaii County Councilman Fred Blas, who attended the meeting, said he thinks the neighborhood doesn’t have another option.
“There is a solution if they have a plan down there,” he said.
Conant said she made the trip hoping to get more time or leniency from the agency. She noted that the neighborhood has tried to pave all of its roads over the last several years but paving costs became too high to finish the job.
The neighborhood’s entire 137-mile road network is private.
Conant said there is little appetite for a raise in neighborhood fees to pay for road watering, and was unsure of where the money would come from.
“I can’t ask these people for more money right now,” she said. “I know what the vote will be.”
Stensrud said the agency looks at fugitive dust complaints on a case-by-case basis and couldn’t say whether fines would be issued with the next confirmed violation if more isn’t done.
Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said the neighborhood could get some county funds to pave its roads but it needs that authority from the state Legislature.
The council has passed legislation allowing fuel tax revenue, used to maintain public roads, to be granted to neighborhoods with private roads but such grants are limited by state law, he said.
Yagong said residents who live on private roads pay the same fuel tax and deserve some help.
“We need to understand that government made a mistake back in the 60s,” he said.
“But when you make that many lots in a single area you have to plan that it’s going to be filled one day … And now we’re left with the problem.”
Additionally, Yagong said he is considering legislation to allow county capital improvement funds to be used on private roads that service a significant population.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.