PALOLO, Hawaii (KHON2) — Community meetings were held in Palolo on Saturday, March 25 to try and figure out a solution to Oahu’s problem of falling rocks.
Developer Peter Savio has an idea to solve the issue island-wide after boulders recently smashed into homes on Oahu.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
Savio said the recent incidents of rockfalls — one in Palolo and the other in Aiea — are just the most publicized instances of the problem.
“I’m 74 years old now, so when I was a kid I remembered as being a problem,” Savio said. “And throughout my life you hear stories about someone being hit by a rock, killed by a rock, house being damaged, car being damaged, something, and we’ve never been able to find a solution.”
His idea is to put up a rockfall mitigation fence that stretches across the ridge above Palolo Valley. A native forest would be planted to reinforce the fence.
“And especially if there’s forest growing in front, cause there’s no place to roll, no place to go. There’ll be trees, roots, ferns, other things holding it in place,” Savio said.
The plan would not cost the City or State a penny, according to Savio, residents would fund it by buying the right to build a second unit on their land — which would increase their property value.
“But you know, if you buy that right for $50,000, it’s worth 100, 200, 300 [thousand], you’re buying something very valuable for a fair price, you have the ability now to build two legal units on your lot,” Savio said.
A neighbor of the woman who was almost struck by a boulder in her Palolo home likes some of Savio’s ideas, but not others.
“His forest idea and I thought that was actually the best thing because it’s a watershed also, stabilize the mountain, protect the houses below it,” said Palolo Valley resident Dale Nakayama. “I don’t like the fence cause I think it’s an eyesore.”
Savio agreed that the fence would be ugly, but he pointed out that trees do not grow overnight.
“And then by the time the fence deteriorates in 50, 60, 70 years, the forest will have grown up and will hold all of the rocks in place,” Savio said.
Savio said the idea could potentially be replicated across every ridge along the Koolau range if the Palolo project works out.
Stolen jewels, boa constrictors killing owners, check out Weird News here
KHON2 reached out to the City to see if they have any suggestions for Savio but did not receive a response.