Planning Commission: Swap meet must control traffic

An Ocean View swap meet must control its traffic if it wants to keep its special permit, the Windward Planning Commission said Thursday.

In a unanimous vote, the commission gave the farmers market and swap meet, located at the intersection of Mamalahoa Highway and Prince Kuhio Boulevard, three conditions it must meet. The market, which is open only on Saturdays, must create signs prohibiting parking along the roadway, as well as provide a parking attendant to enforce the no-parking rule. In addition, all parking areas must be within the special management area boundaries, rather than using the current overflow lot that is down Maile Drive from the site.

The vote came after Bill Peebles, the owner of the swap meet site, told commissioners he operated the swap meet as a community service, not as a profit-making venture. He said the $15 he charged vendors barely covered expenses, and he would have to raise vendor fees to hire parking attendants.

“The biggest issue is people want to park on the side of the road,” Peebles said. “I don’t know what else we can do.”

Because Prince Kuhio Boulevard is a private road, he can’t enforce the no-parking rule, he said.

But Don Nitsche, a board member for Hawaiian Ranchos Road Maintenance Corp., said his group hired a parking attendant for a couple of Saturdays to show it could be done, and he said that went a long way toward resolving the parking problems. Prince Kuhio Boulevard is a private road that is the only nongated entrance into Ocean View Ranchos.

The corporation filed a formal complaint Aug. 9, after what subdivision residents described as failed attempts to resolve their concerns with swap meet owners. The complaint said the corporation asked the swap meet owners to hire traffic control for market days, to no avail.

“We know there’s going to be an accident eventually,” Nitsche said. “All we request them to do is hire a couple of people to direct (drivers) to the parking area when there’s a parking problem. … We don’t think that’s too much to ask.”

Peebles said some of the worst offenders are coming from the Ranchos subdivision itself. He said most residents have no problem with the situation.

“I don’t know when the negative minority voice became the overriding voice compared to the quiet majority voice,” Peebles said. “Anybody can stir a pot, but few can cook.”

Commissioners said parking along the road is a safety issue, especially with children darting from between parked cars onto the roadway.

“I intend to think the safety of the public is more important than the cost of the vendors’ fee,” said Commissioner Stephen Ono.

Commissioner Raylene Moses agreed.

“I’ve seen a lot of people running back and forth,” Moses said. “I’m sorry. I live there. I’ve been there and I have seen it.”