Last of Kahului Airport homeless told to leave by end of day
By Melissa Tanji
KAHULUI — People who have been illegally living on state-owned land next to Kahului Airport runway have been asked to move by day’s end or face criminal trespassing charges, state officials said.
Kahului Airport Manager Marvin Moniz said on Tuesday that most of the more than 100 people living in camps in the area have already moved, following eviction notices from state officials, private security personnel and others.
On a survey of the area yesterday, there were only four people camping near the airport, but they were packing up to leave, said Tammy Mori, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
Tomorrow, state airports officials, Maui police officers, state sheriffs, county park rangers and state Department of Land and Natural Resources personnel will do an assessment of the area to see if campers have moved out, Mori said.
In April, state officials said the evictions had to be done for health and safety reasons because 40 to 50 of the campsites were as close as 150 feet from the runaway fence line. There were tarps, tents, furniture, trash and bottles in the area. Some campsites had hazardous materials such as propane tanks and car batteries, and a few campers were living in old military bunkers.
Tomorrow, the state will assess the area for cleanup. The state property is 2.5 acres between the northwest end of Kanaha Beach Park and Stable Road. It includes wetland and forested areas along the shoreline.
The state also has plans to cut down the trees and brush in the area that affect visibility and to make it easier for officials to monitor activity there.
Moniz said two people in the area called him about the evictions, but the calls were amiable.
He said one person wanted trash bags, which state officials provided and the other person was thankful that the state was patient with them and gave them enough time to move out.
Moniz said some of the campers did a good job cleaning up after themselves, but others “just got up and left.”
Airport officials became aware of the homeless encampments when dogs from the area bit a child, then a teenager in separate incidents in October and December, with neither of the victims suffering serious injuries.