Councilmember Lee Loy Requests Addition of DHHL Road Maintenance to Agenda

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Hawai‘i County Councilmember Sue Lee Loy. Photo courtesy of Big Island Press Club

Sue Lee Loy (District 3) is placing the topic of speed humps in Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) on the Public Works and Mass Transit Committee agenda scheduled for Aug. 6, 2019, in Hilo (time to be announced).

If a road on Hawaiian Homes Land in Hawai‘i County needs speed humps for the safety of its residents, Hawai‘i County foots the bill, according to the administration that negotiated the landmark Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DHHL and Hawai‘i County in 2002.

The issue arose toward the end of the 2016-18 council term, when Resolution No. 740-18 was
introduced by request of the administration. This resolution authorized the Office of the Mayor
to enter into a cost-sharing agreement that would have resulted in DHHL reimbursing the county
for adding speed humps on Pakele Lane in the Hawaiian Homestead community of Keaukaha, in
Hawai‘i County Council District 3.


In an effort to resolve the dispute, Councilmember Lee Loy has met with community leaders
and state and county officials, including Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William Ailā, the
governor’s East Hawai‘i Liaison Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and Public Works Director David

The cost of the reimbursement would have been about $6,000. The resolution, later withdrawn,
ignited a much larger debate about whether the MOA (approved by the council in Resolution
No. 19-03) obligates DHHL to pay for road infrastructure improvements in Hawai‘i County.

The MOA is clear that DHHL will build public infrastructure to county standards and the
county will operate, repair and maintain it, said Councilmember Lee Loy. While it’s not clearly written how new speed humps fit into that mix, in a three-page letter to the council on Dec. 16, 2002 (Comm. No. 39.1), Mayor Harry Kim writes that “(t)he county has taken over the responsibility for traffic
requirements on DHHL roads, including signs, markings and lights.”


Two days later, during the discussion on Resolution No. 19-03 with then-Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman Raynard, Mayor Kim was asked what might happen should one of the parties exercise
the termination clause.

Mayor Kim’s response: “ … I do not think it should change regardless the existence of this agreement or not the county’s responsibilities … as far as roadways, streetlights, and those things … clearly identified during the discussion that these are paid for by fuel tax. And if there are county roads, we should pay for it, like any other county road.”

Councilmember Lee Loy thanks Mayor Kim for his comments in 2002 that help to clarify the
relationship between DHHL and Hawai‘i County regarding road infrastructure. She is hopeful
that the discussion scheduled for Aug. 6 will settle this matter so that residents on Pakele Lane
will get the speed humps that they have been requesting for years.


On July 12, 2019, Councilmember Lee Loy sent a letter to Chairperson Aaron S. Y. Chung and members of the Hawai‘i County Council requesting a discussion regarding county road improvements on Hawaiian Homestead land.

I am requesting at least 60 minutes for a discussion with the Administration about issues relating
to the County’ s improvement of roads owned by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands,
such as the proposed installation of speed humps on Pakele Lane in South Hilo.
The scope of this discussion will include the memorandum of agreement between the County and
the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, as signed by Mayor Harry Kim and Hawaiian Homes
Commission Chair Raynard C. Soon, and ratified by the Council on December 18, 2002, via
Resolution No. 19- 03, which is attached to this communication.
Please place this item on the next available agenda of the Public Works and Mass Transit

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