November 2, 2017 Beach Access Update


Resolution 17-246 for Condemnation for a Public Right of Way made it out of the City Council meeting today with a unanimous vote.

MAHALO to all of you who came down and testified in person or who sent in testimony of support to the City Council.  You made a difference!

There are at least 2 more City Council meetings we will have to participate in and we will need all of your help to make the Public Right of Way a reality for the community.

Please know we don’t receive a notice about the meetings until 3 to 4 days before the meeting takes place.  We are doing our best to get the information out to everyone as soon as we can so you can testify in person or send in testimony.


photo by: Annmarie Kirk - Portlock, Maunalua, Oʻahu

Beach Access Update May 2017


Public beach access is an issue the Hui cares about deeply, as reflected in our work with the community to secure access to Hanapepe Brow (Fingers), Portlock Beach, Paiko Beach, and Niu Valley. Despite the return of this problem, we are encouraged by the many messages we've received concerning the new gate in Portlock.

Longtime residents will remember the issue was already handled 20 years ago, and yet today we find ourselves back in this predicament. How did this happen? It is because of the lack of completing the condemnation of the lane by the City. We encourage you to join us on May 30th in the Hahaione Elementary School cafeteria at 7:30 p.m. for the next meeting of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board.


We hope you speak at the meeting when this topic is addressed. It can be simply to state that you support the lane being opened and made into a Public Right of Way.


Please also send your concerns to Councilmember Trevor Ozawa ( / 808-768-5004), since if the condemnation to make the lane a Public Right of Way is to take place, that action will happen at the City Level.


We encourage you to send your concerns to State Senator Stanley Chang ( / 808-586-8420) and State Senator Laura Thielen ( / 808-587-8388) as well. We believe they can help with the community's concerns and work with the City to have the gate taken down and a Public Right of Way established.


Our community is very lucky to have members like you who are concerned about issues like this and are willing to speak up. Mahalo."


Portlock gate re-ignites debate over beach access
Thursday, May 4th 2017, 4:35 pm HST
Thursday, May 4th 2017, 5:12 pm HST
By Mahealani Richardson, Anchor/Reporter

A small gate has tempers flaring in Portlock, re-igniting a decades-long debate over beach access.

The gate went up earlier this week at a beach access point on Portlock Road. An accompanying sign said "'no trespassing" and "private lane."

Surfers were looking at the gate Thursday when police were called, spurring a debate over who can use a private beach access lane that has a long history of legal entanglements.

Beachgoers say it blocks access to a popular surf spot called "Seconds."

"They are not very happy, because everyone thought that this access way was open to the public," said Wayne Fujihara, a Hawaii Kai resident and avid body boarder.

"This is the only beach here that has sand. All the others have concrete stairways that have to go down," added Portlock neighbor Lee Taylor.

It's the second time a gate at the access point has provoked controversy. Years ago, the property owner erected a gate, but later took it down.

The property owner had no comment about the new gate.


7-16-13 - Today, the City Parks Committee unanimously voted in support of RESOLUTION 13- 155 - GIFT FROM LIVABLE HAWAII KAI HUI, relating to the acceptance of a gift to the City from Livable Hawaii Kai Hui for ocean access/public right of way improvements at Hanapepe Brow, valued at $4,500. President Elizabeth Reilly was on hand to make the formal gift on behalf of the Hui and Ann Marie Kirk who was applauded for her tireless efforts. Bravo! - reported by Jeannine Johnson


6-30-12 - Reported by Marisa Yamane on KHON2 NEWS Beach accessway finally re-opened in East Oahu



2012 Mahalo AMK Beach Access.docx
Microsoft Word document [482.6 KB]

6-22-12  Beach Public Right of Way finally re-opened in East Oahu - reported by Marisa Yamane on KHON2  

3-28-11 - Beach accessway to popular surf spot could re-open - Ann Marie Kirk


3-28-10 Honolulu Advertiser - OPINION - Beach Access Must Remain-see Beach Access Page

The people of Hawai'i have a legal and historical claim to the shoreline that's rock-solid in statute and case law.The shoreline itself, though, is a bit more mobile. It's defined by the highest wash of the waves under non-storm conditions, a variable line in the sand.

Try telling that to owners of pricey beachfront property, who like property lines fixed and would prefer keeping the public at a distance. The principle of public shoreline access may be sacrosanct, dating back to Hawaiian kingdom law, but the 21st-century homeowner who paid the hefty price may not be feeling the love. The state, then, needs the tools that House Bill 1808 would provide to enforce the public access to the beach. The bill represents the latest effort by state agencies and other proponents to deal with a problem of homeowners — primarily in coastal East Honolulu but in scattered spots statewide — who have propagated plantings that encroach on the public part of the beach. At high tide, the plants — largely the salt-tolerant naupaka — can block the only footpath along the beach. Of the current versions of the bill, the best is the House draft, which clearly lays out procedures for state land enforcement officials to notify those with encroaching plants and sets the fines for those who don't keep them in check. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources doesn't have the staff to police hedges and shrubs, which officials say isn't the intent anyway. But they should curb incursions into the public zone when they become excessive, much in the way that sidewalks are kept clear. A path on the beach should always remain open.



Friday, March 12, 2010 at 1:15 PM in Conference Room 224  Aloha Senator Clayton Hee, Chair and Senator Jill N. Tokuda, Vice Chair and Honorable Committee Members, COMMITTEE ON WATER, LAND, AGRICULTURE, AND HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS Aloha Senator J. Kalani English, Chair and Senator Mike Gabbard, Vice Chair and Honorable Committee Members, COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION, INTERNATIONAL AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS Livable Hawaii Kai Hui is in strong support of HB 1808 HD2.


The ocean and shoreline are precious resources for all Hawai'i residents. Our Hawai'i state government rightly made sure the shoreline and ocean around our island chain belong to all people of Hawai'i. They also passed laws to make sure the community has access to those shorelines. Establishing a law and enforcing a law are two different matters. In many areas the community cannot access the shoreline because the lack of enforcing the law for the creation of Public Rights of Way. Another area which denies the public access to the shoreline is when homeowners do not maintain their property and allow their vegetation to grow outside of their property line and into public rights of way, or into and along shorelines, thus infringing on a public resource. These homeowners should be held accountable to established penalties, fines and should also pay for the removal of the vegetation. Currently in East O'ahu homeowners have allowed naupaka plants to grow into the public beach in areas which include; Portlock, Paiko/ Kuliou'ou, Aina Haina, and Kahala. At high tide community members cannot walk along the shoreline because the beach is heavily overgrown with naupaka foliage. Not only does this hinder the freedom of lateral movement across the public beach, but it is creates a safety issue because people, from keiki to kupuna, are forced into the ocean at high tide just to make their way along the public beach front. In another area of East O'ahu, at Hanapepe Loop, homeowners have allowed a large tree to grow into and engulf a public right of way. The public right of way is now closed because the damage the tree and its roots have caused to the access point have made it unsafe. The community has been waiting for the issue to be resolved for over 6 months. These scenarios would not have been allowed to escalate to the point where they are today had the current proposed legislation been in effect. We are writing in strong support of HB 1808 HD2 which requires maintenance of public beach accesses by adjacent landowners and imposes penalties for non-compliance and which established shoreline access as a policy of CZM.


Livable Hawaii Kai Hui humbly request your support of HB 1808 HD2. Mahalo for your consideration. Ann Marie Kirk Cultural and Natural Resource Committee | Livable Hawaii Kai Hui | Livable Hawaii Kai Hui is a non profit (501c3) community organization dedicated to upholding the integrity of the East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan as well as protecting and celebrating our cultural and natural resources. Serving the Maunalua region (East Honolulu) since 2004. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Thanks to efforts from community members as well as many organizations including the Niu Valley Community Association, Beach Access Hawai‘i, Kahea, Surfrider Foundation, Keep the North Shore Country, Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui, Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center, and the Windward Ahupua'a Alliance, Niu Valley now has an official public right of way sign next to our access at Niu Valley stream bridge along Kalaniana‘ole Highway and West Halema‘uma‘u Street. That simple blue sign means that for generations to come our community will be able to enjoy the beach and ocean in Niu Valley. Mahalo to the Hui! Submitted by Jeannine Johnson, Secretary, Niu Valley Community Association

Rallying for access to beaches


Posted 1-20-2008




February 2nd 2008 Starts 10am till noon - Please come by 9:30 so we can set up our signs with you or if you want to make your own signs, great! Make your sign on a surfboard, inner tube or boogie board. Suggestions for signs are below...




Families. Fishermen. Surfers. Paddlers. We're all being denied free and easy access to our shorelines on every island. It's time we demand government action to acquire more Public Rights of Way statewide.

In October of 2006 a protest was held to draw attention to the lack of Public Rights of Way in East Oahu. Community members have been working for over 10 years to acquire Public Rights of Way. Nothing has changed. It's actually gotten worse, just look at what has happened in Kailua, Oahu where the community is losing access to the ocean.

Join us on Groundhog Day February 2nd and be a part of a historic island wide protest. For those who wish to protest in East Oahu the meeting areas are on the ocean side of Kalanianaole Hwy:

1) Portlock Road at the Portlock sign on Kalanianaole Highway.

2) Paiko Road on Kalanianaole Hwy.

3) Niu Valley at the stream across from Halemaumau St. on Kalanianaole Hwy.

4) Aina Haina at the bridge across from Nenue St. on Kalanianaole Hwy.

5) Where the freeway ends and meets Kalanianaole Hwy. at Aina Koa.


Participating organizations include:Kahea, Surfrider Foundation, Beach Access Hawaii, Defend Oahu Coalition, Common Ground Hawaii, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, Windward Ahupua’a Alliance, and many others that are joining together for this cause.


December 2007


Did you know that one-fourth (25%) of O‘ahu’s beachfront has been lost or narrowed due to beach lost by sea walls in the past 70 years?


Did you know there are only 89 City-owned beach or shoreline rights-of-way (BROW) around the island?

As residents found out in Iroquois Point in 'Ewa and L'Orange Place in Kailua recently, access ways that have been used for decades may be privately owned and eventually gated. Beachfront owners contend they "pay" for this safety, security and privacy. Many of us know that beachfront homeowners in East Honolulu from Diamond Head to Portlock unethically intimidate our community with walls, gates, keep out signs, video cameras, dogs and an overall unwelcoming attitude to the shoreline that these homeowners think they own. However, the beaches are for everyone. The recreational objective of the O‘ahu General Plan is to “provide convenient access to all beaches and inland recreation areas” and one of the visions of the East Honolulu Sustainable Community Plan (EHSCP) is to promote access to shoreline and mountain areas. Section 2.2.4 of the EHSCP recommends pursuing opportunities to acquire additional pedestrian rights-of-way from the highway to the shoreline in sections which have high recreational value but no similar public access within at least a quarter-mile. In 1984, a plan for the acquisition of beachfront lands on O‘ahu including the identification of specific sites for City acquisition was formulated and in 1986 the City Department of Parks and Recreation communicated to the City Council that "there is a particular urgency for beachfront lands because it is a limited and disappearing resource." However, while the City administration recognized the pressing need to acquire beachfront lands and established a policy and developed a plan for the acquisition of such property, only a marginal amount of beachfront property has been acquired since 1980. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court has also stated, “[T]he ability to get to a recreational area is as vital for enjoying it as having it in its natural condition.”

The Hawai‘i Third Circuit Court also found that the right to access is a necessary adjunct to the right to use and enjoy public trust areas and alienation of shoreline access was a breach of public trust.


The Honolulu Star Bulletin in a recent editorial stated that gated subdivisions near Velzyland, resorts and condo developments on the Leeward coast and walled residences along Kalaniana'ole Highway in East Honolulu were converting public beaches into exclusive enclaves simply by blocking access. It also reminded the public that in the late 1990s, the city's attempt to condemn Portlock beach lanes to maintain public access was entangled by a landowner's successful lawsuit. Though the Portlock community said it would continue to allow access, private property and trespassing signs and video surveillance remain and as property changes hands, there are no guarantees the paths will stay open. While the city has standards for access points at every quarter-mile, there are few areas where that has been achieved.


Revenue shortages and priorities clearly prohibit new land acquisitions. Nonetheless, the public's right to get to the beach is fast becoming a privilege for the few. There has been one victory. The access way for Niu Valley was recently unchained by the Department of Parks and Recreation District 1 supervisor and the blue access sign requested by the Kuli'ou'ou / Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board #2 at its October 5, 2006, meeting will go up sometime in the near future next the Niu Valley stream along Kalaniana‘ole Highway near West Halema'uma'u Street. If you are interested in joining our efforts to provide the public with access points at every quarter-mile along our shoreline, please contact us. Mahalo!

Story submitted by Advertiser Staff.........Posted at 1:29 p.m., Friday, December 8, 2006

Kekoa Wong with his sons Koanui, 3 and Kamakoa, 7 at the ocean near their Kuli’ou’ou home. BY Suzanne Roig Advertiser Staff Writer It’s hard tomiss Kekoa Wong. He’s the guy with hair down to the middle of his back, dashing into a grocery store – sunglasses on, head down – concentrating of the items he needs.

“I never come this side,” said soon-to-be kumu hula Wong, a Kuli’ou’ou resident.

But if you see Wong out scouring the fishponds behind his family's home in Kuli’ou’ou home, then you’ll meet a more friendly guy.

“I think people would think I’m standoffish,” Wong said.

Wong, 37, spends his days teaching Hawaiian language to students at Mililani High School and hula at Nu’uanu Elementary School.

Wong began dancing hula in 1992, and seven years later, he began to grow his hair. He doesn’t plan on cutting it until he is named a kumu by Kahai Topolinski, his kumu.

“Then he’ll cut my hair,” Wong said. “Sometimes, it’s hard to be a Hawaiian today. You see what belonged to you and it doesn’t belong to you anymore and you don’t have the freedom you did before on a daily basis.”

That’s why the fishponds of his neighborhood call to him. And when he’s with his sons, he’s in his element. They swim, surf and dive. They pick up rubbish and canoe the waters of Maunalua Bay and the Hawaii Kai Marina, where he’s always told to leave.

“I don’t like to leave my community,” Wong said. “I live on a fishpond, so it’s my life. My family goes out there a lot to look for octopus, to fish. I don’t come to Hawai’i Kai too much. I usually make my wife, Kaumaka, come.”

Lately he’s turned into a community activist working with other residents to keep development at bay and to preserve the farming community in Kamilo Nui Valley. He’s joined the Hawaii Kai Hui and is active in preserving beach access.

“Kekoa has a special gift in understanding what it means when we say what an authentic sense of place is,” said Elizabeth Reilly,a member of the Hawaii Kai Hui. “He understands what it means to protect the land in its natural state, means protecting the spirit of the place.”

The Hawai’i Kai Marina is owned by residents and an association that collects annual dues. It is only open to boaters who have a marina sticker.

That permit system, he said, is something he’d like to see changed.

“You can’t own the water,” he said.

Wong attended Kailua High School and graduated in 1987. He studied at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where he earned his undergraduate degree and later his master’s at Chaminade University. Wong grew up in Waimanalo, and rarely went past Sandy Beach – preferring the Windward area to East O’ahu.

Now a Kuli’ou’ou resident, Wong said he has learned to appreciate the new place he calls home. He has found that the community has plentiful fruit and fish in the ponds and he has his family.

“Kuli’ou’ou is loaded with local people and we share and are all aware of each other.”

In an occasional series of profiles of people who live in East Honolulu, Advertiser staff writer Suzanne Roig, who also grew up in Hawai’i Kai and attended Kaiser High School, will talk with residents about what makes their lives in this community special.

To suggest a person to profile, contact Roig at or 395-8831.


Vol. 11, Issue 298 - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

BEACH WARS Residents are fighting to keep open the public's access to East Oahu shores» Better enforcement of access laws urgedBy Christine Donnelly

EAST OAHU residents, fed up with diminishing beach access, are banding together to pressure the state and city to preserve and improve public pathways to the shoreline.

The effort brings together neighborhood associations, surfers, fishermen and families, some of whom will sign-wave during the evening rush hour Friday to focus attention on the issue.

They won a first-round victory yesterday when the city government rejected a building permit for oceanfront land at 5295 Kalanianaole Highway, adjacent to Wailupe Stream, that had been advertised as the site of a future "luxury home development" by owner Kauilani LCC.

Art Challacombe, chief of customer service for the Department of Planning and Permitting, said the application actually sought permission for only a single-family home, and that was denied because the application lacked a flood variance.

"Clearly, in a flood zone, without a variance, construction cannot go forward, not of a fence, a house, nothing," he said, noting that the property owners could still seek such a variance.

Repeated attempts to reach the landowners or their representatives were unsuccessful.

The Kuliouou/Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board, Public Access Shoreline Hawaii and Hawaii Fishing News were among the groups that had objected to the application.

"We have been working for months to shine some light on this issue, and it is great to see that the community has a voice and the process is working," said Chris Cramer, a teacher and surfer who lives in Aina Haina and has traversed East Oahu documenting dwindling public access.

Some East Oahuans fear losing access to this beach fronting 5295 Kalanianaole Highway.
CLICK FOR LARGE RIGHTS OF WAYAt least three projects in East Oahu have ignited concerns about public access to shorelines:

» 5295 Kalanianaole Highway: Site of future development by owner Kauilani LLC.

» 5647 Kalanianaole Highway: Pending request for a shoreline certification and building permit; barricades have been built at nearby properties.

» 379 Portlock Road: House at center of old access dispute is for sale.

Jeannine Johnson, a member of the Kuliouou/Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board, also praised the decision but noted that the property is just one of several that has ignited objections.

Among the others:

» A request for a shoreline certification and building permit at 5647 Kalanianaole Highway. Johnson has written to the county objecting to any construction that would limit public access to the adjacent Niu Valley stream, which in turn provides beach access. And she said the county had failed to prevent construction of barricades at other nearby properties, with the proliferation of fences and locked gates all along the makai side of Kalanianaole Highway, effectively "turning our public beaches into private beaches."

Challacombe said a Planning Department employee would research the questions, but that the matter was more appropriately an issue for the state, which oversees shoreline certifications.

As for walls and fences, he said, property owners who have built barriers 30 inches tall or higher without a permit could be fined $50 a day until the obstruction is removed or a permit is granted. The department would investigate specific complaints, he said.

» Unresolved public access on Portlock Road to a beach used by generations of families for swimming and surfing. The city moved in 1998 to condemn four beach pathways on the road and convert them to public accessways, after the owner of 379 Portlock Road put up a locked gate on a private path residents had used for decades.

But the effort stalled as landowner Bert Dohmen successfully sued the city. He and his family later moved and the Portlock Community Association publicly declared its intent to allow unimpeded access through privately owned beach lanes. But to this day some of the lanes carry signs reminding people that they are trespassing on private property and being monitored by video surveillance systems as they walk to the public beach. And 379 Portlock Road, like other homes on the road, is for sale, stoking fears that the issue could flare anew with every new owner.

For lifelong resident Ann Marie Kirk, the only lasting solution is for the city to acquire official accessways on the road. "Otherwise, the community's use of the public beach is clearly at the whim of a few landowners," she said. "Public rights of way are important for all people of Hawaii."

Challacombe said government regulations must balance the rights of property owners and the need for public access. "Both sides have rights, and sometimes they are at odds," he said.

Supporters uniteAdvocates for increased beach access in East Oahu plan to demonstrate from about 4 to 6 p.m. Friday on the makai side of Kalanianaole Highway, between Waikui and Waieli streets. BACK TO TOP

Better enforcement of access laws urgedBarriers that speed up beach erosion rank among the problemsBy Christine Donnelly

State law mandates the public's right to the beach, including the right of transit along the shore. In other words, a person should be able to get to the beach and then walk along it.

That is impossible in some areas of Oahu.

Lateral access along the shore has been affected by beach erosion exacerbated by seawalls, vegetation and other barriers put in by landowners, according to an analysis done for the state Legislature by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The problem is obvious in Black Point, Kahala, Lanikai and parts of East Oahu.

Beach access over land -- including private property -- has decreased in neighborhoods such as Aina Haina and Niu Valley as homeowners on the makai side of the widened Kalanianaole Highway wall off their properties to increase security and reduce traffic noise and risks.

"We're right on the main highway now. Cars could crash into the house," said one homeowner who refused to be quoted by name.

When it comes to construction, the state certifies the shoreline, but the city grants building permits. The city is also responsible for developing and maintaining public access corridors.

Art Challacombe, chief of customer service for the city Department of Planning and Permitting, said the public has two main ways to gain shoreline access. One is to sue for "prescriptive rights" to private pathways that plaintiffs can prove they had unimpeded access to for at least 20 years. The other is for the City Council to condemn and purchase private property and dedicate it as a public right of way.

Condemnation is "by far the best way to guarantee access in perpetuity," he said.

But the process can be long, costly and divisive.

In the meantime, the state and city should better enforce existing shoreline certification and building permitting rules, said Elizabeth Reilly, a member of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board and a founder of the Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.

The city identified many of East Oahu's beach access problems years ago, but failed to solve them, she noted. For example, the East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan, published in 1999, recommended that the city acquire at least three public access points on Portlock Road to meet its standard of public shoreline access at about one-quarter-mile intervals.

The plan also noted that few areas along the shoreline from Waialae to Koko Head were accessible, due to "rather continuous development" and the erection of sound-barrier walls. It recommended that the city acquire more pedestrian easements as properties were redeveloped or subdivided.

"I think the key issue here is enforcement," Reilly said. "The problems are clear, and so are the solutions. They just have to enforce the law."

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