REPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF CITY COUNCIL MEMBER KYMBERLY PINE – WAIANAE — Community residents say the City is moving in the right direction, as it enforces stronger illegal dumping laws in Waianae Valley by placing a lien for unpaid civil fines on agricultural property where sludge from the Hawaii Kai Marina was illegally dumped.
Introduced by Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine, Bills 35, 36 and 37, often referred to as the ‘Environmental Justice’ Bills, stiffen fines and provide the Department of Planning and Permitting Director with discretion to pursue civil and criminal court actions in their enforcement. The bills were signed into law by Mayor Caldwell on October 23, 2014
According to the Department of Planning and Permitting, the Silvas, owners of the Waianae agricultural property, have been fined a total of $58,050 since December 2013. At this time, none have been paid, and the City has continued to assess daily fines on the Silva’s property.
“The City’s tough response to these violators is a welcome sign. We must stay vigilant in fighting illegal dumping in our community,” said Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai, Waianae Valley homesteader who first reported the violation to the City.
“The Waianae community cares deeply about this place. We hope the City’s response to this violator will make others think twice before they choose to illegally dump their waste in our neighborhoods,” said Jonnie-Mae Perry, Chair of the Waianae Neighborhood Board.
Additionally, for the most egregious violations, including those committed by the same firm or person at the same site in a 12-month period (‘repeat violators’), the City will pursue criminal prosecution and double the daily fines, subjecting a violator to a potential penalty of $10,000 a day while the violation exists, and order the violator to return the land to its natural state.
“We encourage our community to be vigilant in reporting illegal dumping activity in Waianae, Kalaeloa and throughout Oahu. These bills send a strong message that haulers improperly disposing of sludge and waste, who refuse to pay their fines, will not be tolerated by the community or the city,” said Councilmember Pine.
The Department of Planning and Permitting’s code enforcement program’s to obtain compliance for all violations. Enforcement measures are either Administrative (Civil Fines) or Judicial (Prosecuting Attorney’s Office). When appropriate, as occurred in the Silva case, a Notice of Violation (NOV) is issued by an inspector.
If the NOV’s are not corrected within a required period of time, a Notice of Order (NOO) is issued to these violators. Considered the first phase of this Branch’s code enforcement initiatives, past due NOO’s and NOV’s are referred by inspectors to this Branch and civil fines are assessed. The Branch conducts research, gathers evidence, and prepares documentation to enforce the civil fine. Except for rare occasions, administrative measures are preferred to judicial means.
To date, the violators have not contacted the City to resolve the matter, if they continue to let the fines accrue, the Department of Planning and Permitting has planned to initiate foreclosure proceedings to recover the balance of civil fines.
Councilmember Pine represents residents of District One (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, Makaha, Keaau, Makua) and chairs the Parks, Community and Customer Services Committee.