(BIVN) – After receiving numerous requests from residents affected by the recent Kīlauea Volcano eruption to allow them to create access to their property across the hardened lava fields, the County of Hawai‘i has issued a media release detailing the process for obtaining authorization.
Under the Mayor’s Sixth Supplementary Emergency Proclamation dated December 6, 2018, the County says that “individuals who wish to modify the lava fields to create temporary emergency access must first seek authorization from the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency.”
In their request to civil defense, the County says residents must:
- Identify the location of the property, including all Tax Map Key (TMK) numbers;
- Describe the nature of the access proposed, which should include a site plan showing the location and extent of the temporary emergency access; and
- Include written consent from all individuals whose properties will be traversed and who will have renewed access.
The County says anyone requesting authorization “will assume any and all risks, and may be charged for any rescue costs, pursuant to HRS Chapter 137 and/or HCC 2-169.”
Puna Geothermal Venture, for example, has been granted permission to begin clearing a path to it’s facility off Highway 132. Work is already underway.
The Planning Department and the Department of Public Works will review each request, “with an eye to compliance with regulations and private property rights”, the County says. The departments may ask the following:
- Will the proposed access route serve multiple properties? If so, to ensure public welfare and safety, additional road standards or other conditions may be required.
- Is a grading permit required? Modifications may or may not trigger a grading permit per Hawaiʻi County Code section 10-3. This will be determined during the review process.
- Will the grading risk breaching lava channel walls, creating a dam, or otherwise significantly altering the flow patterns in the event that lava activity resumes? A geotechnical assessment may be required to determine subsurface conditions depending on the depth of the proposed excavation and other factors related to terrain stability and safety.
“After review and the approval of any required permits, Civil Defense will issue an authorization letter,” the County says. “For further information, please contact Department of Public Works at 961-8321.”