By Wendy Osher
An apparent temporary agreement has been reached in a longstanding dispute involving the future of four monkey pod trees in Kihei.
The agreement calls for sidewalk repairs to proceed in the area along South Kihei Road fronting the Maui Schooner, with the trees to be left in place for the time being.
“They’ll have to be removed sooner or later,” though, said County Communications Director Rod Antone of the trees, noting that they will stay in place, “at least until the plans to revamp S. Kihei Road are brought up to date or are ready to be implemented.”
County Public Works Director David Goode said that, “the trees will have to be removed in order to implement installation of drainage facilities.”
The flood mitigation work has been a topic of concern since heavy rains flooded the area early last year.
The Kihei Community Association, which has been fighting to keep the trees in place maintains, “there was no valid reason to cut down nor uproot the trees.”
The organizations Street Tree Committee organized a sign waving protest earlier this month after a proposal surfaced to remove and relocate the trees to another property in the district.
The KCA’s Street Tree Committee met with Goode, and the Mayor’s Executive Assistant John Buck on Thursday, March 8, 2012, to discuss the ongoing issue, and the urgent need to replace the sidewalk–which was removed to allow arborists access to the roots to assess the trees in question.
“KCA has continuously advocated for a walkable/bikeable community, so replacing the sidewalk was commendable,” the association website stated.
The KCA website says the agreement calls for the re-evaluation of the situation again, once the drainage master and traffic master plans are complete.
In order to solidify the agreement and assure both sides are on the same page, Goode requested a written response from the KCA on letterhead by the end of the month. “This probably requires a board action, and the meeting we attended was not an official board meeting,” said Goode.
“It appears that they’ll seek to keep the trees there for now, and if that is the case, we will reinstall a sidewalk,” said Goode.