Ask the Mayor: Who Permitted Monkeypod Tree Removal?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column. Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at (808) 270-7855, [email protected] or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.
Q: Whoever ok’d the removal of the monkeypod trees on Pi‘ilani Highway in Kīhei should be fired. Apparently, they were destroyed because Maui County and the adjacent HOA did not want to pay for watering them.
A: These trees are not county-owned or county-maintained, and the county did not have anything to do with their removal. The legal team for the Piilani Villages Home Owners Association (HOA) has determined that the monkeypod trees are located on private property in a landscape easement recorded in favor of the HOA. Since the HOA does not own the trees it cannot take definitive action to trim or remove them without the individual lot owners’ cooperation and permission. It is unfortunate that when the trees were planted, they were planted improperly without a root barrier to contain the roots as the trees grew. Hence, some of the trees have been causing structural damage to homes and threatening damage.
So it is up to the individual homeowners to decide whether to 1) remove the monkeypod tree(s) affecting their property; 2) perform landscape maintenance only (trim) or 3) leave the trees alone.
That being said, I would hope that the HOA and homeowners would consider replanting the area with trees that would not cause damage to neighboring homes.