H.R. NO.













urging the city and county of honolulu to REGULATe OVERGROWN TREES on private property.




     WHEREAS, for a majority of the year, Hawaii is blessed with a warm, tropical climate, which results in prime botanical and agricultural growing conditions; and


     WHEREAS, many local residents take pride in growing their own trees and other plants that produce exquisite flowers or bountiful harvests of fruit or vegetables; and


     WHEREAS, trees and other large flora also provide shade and a welcomed rest area to those looking to momentarily escape from the heat of Hawaii's sun; and


     WHEREAS, unkempt and overgrown plants and trees not only look unsightly but can also pose a threat to surrounding infrastructure and people; for example, over-hanging branches may break and fall, potentially causing damage to property or injury to bystanders; and


     WHEREAS, neglected plants and trees may also give rise to unsanitary conditions and can serve as a habitat for vermin and plant diseases, including blight, an infectious plant disease that causes wilting and browning and can ultimately lead to the destruction of plants and cause major damage to Hawaii's gardens or crops; and


     WHEREAS, in order to preserve the natural beauty and health of their greenery, as well as to sustain the health and safety of other people, property owners need to ensure the proper maintenance of their vegetation; and


     WHEREAS, each county is empowered under Section 46-1.5, paragraph (12), Hawaii Revised Statutes, to enact and enforce ordinances necessary to prevent or remove public nuisances, or to compel the clearing and removal of undergrowth from unoccupied private property; and


     WHEREAS, the City and County of Honolulu has enacted such an ordinance under Article 10, Chapter 41 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, with the legislative intent being to require the cutting and removal of weeds or other waste found to be a public nuisance to the health, safety, and welfare of residents, and to provide the necessary power and authority to the City to effectuate this purpose; and


     WHEREAS, under Section 41-10.4, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, the definition of "weeds" includes vegetation that has reached such growth or is present in such a quantity as to create the risk of becoming a fire hazard, providing shelter or breeding grounds for vermin or noxious insects, impeding the use or maintenance of any road, alley, path or sidewalk, or obstructing the flow of water in any privately owned or controlled stream or other waterway; and


     WHEREAS, the Director and Building Superintendent of the Building Department of the City and County of Honolulu are empowered to notify owners of vacant property to properly cut and remove weeds, garbage, trash or other waste, and property owners receiving such notice have 30 days to dispose of the debris, after which time the Director and Building Superintendent have the right to enter the property and eradicate the weeds at the expense of the property owner; and


     WHEREAS, overgrown and unmaintained vegetation on occupied property has the same risk of becoming a public nuisance as it does on vacant property; and


     WHEREAS, although the City and County of Honolulu oversees the removal of weeds on property where the owner is noncompliant with a notice to cut and remove weeds, this prescribed language does not include the removal of trees; and


     WHEREAS, neither State nor City departments oversee or cite the regulation of trees on private properties; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-eighth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2015, that the City and County of Honolulu is urged to consider amending the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu to include the removal of trees on private property amongst the items authorized to be cut or removed when the item is determined to be a nuisance as prescribed under the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu and the Chair of the City Council.









Report Title: 

Regulation of Overgrown Trees on Private Property