TONGAN CONSULAR RESIDENCE IN CALIFORNIA CONTROVERSIAL

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (March 16, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Tonga)---People living near Tonga's official consular residence in Hillsborough, California are reportedly up in arms over a plan to expand the building.

The San Mateo County Times reports neighbors in the affluent area have complained to local authorities that guests involved in previous royal visits have parked on neighboring properties, blocked driveways, scattered litter and were noisy at night.

Tonga's Consul General in San Francisco, 'Emeline Tuita, denied that government parties are being held at the residence, which was bought in 1997. She said they try as much as possible to comply with local noise ordinances.

The town's Architectural Design and Review Board has already approved the proposed extensions to the Kingdom's residence.

Town officials said neighbors cannot block the construction because the complaints have not been made about the design of the house itself.

The town attorney has reportedly said the basis of an appeal would have to be about design, but if neighbors have legitimate concerns, the Hillsborough council might listen.

Tonga's Minister for Works, Cecil Cocker, returned this week from the United States after overseeing the planned extension of the residence.

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