HILO, Hawaii – The Hawaii County Department of Public Work’s Building Division went before the county Board of Ethics on Tuesday to answer accusations of unfair treatment.
Rob Tucker filed two separate complaints against the county department.
In his first complaint, Tucker targeted county structural engineer Daniel Lee, who took ten months to approve a client’s plans. “His plan checking is so inept he produced five correction letters when a plan checker is supposed to produce one,” Tucker wrote on Punaweb, an online forum he moderates, before the hearing. “Each letter was extremely vague and, for the first time in this county, is requiring engineering calcs on single story homes- which each take months to acquire and costs thousands of dollars.”
Tucker says architects have told him that the county engineering requirements are so excessive that a lanai is no longer legal on a new home, and the “problem is not unique to me.”
Lee was on hand Tuesday to explain himself, side-by-side with Public Work’s Deputy Director Brandon Gonzalez, who also spoke in defense of the building division.
Tucker’s second complaint had to do with a disagreement over the new building code as it relates to small, unpermitted utility structures on agricultural land, which Tucker’s business has been offering to the market. Tucker said the new code allows for the structures, the county says that may not be the case and takes issue with Tucker’s advertising the products as such. Both sides referenced the voluminous new codes to back their position.
Ultimately, ethics board members moved to dismiss both complaints, suggesting it might be more appropriate on the agenda of the Board of Appeals, which handles technical disputes.
“I guess the bottom line is they felt that since everyone is treated badly equally I have no grounds for complaint,” tucker later reported on Punaweb.