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County enforcing beach parking requirements at Kaanapali resorts

By Staff | Mar 17, 2016

KAANAPALI – The County of Maui is monitoring Kaanapali resorts to ensure they are meeting requirements for beach parking.

It is a recent development in a campaign that Napili resident Randy Draper has doggedly pursued for years.

Draper enjoys early morning walks on Kaanapali Beach. While visiting Kaanapali Resort in recent years, he found that parking for public beach access was not being provided, or it was restricted.

“The county was never consistent at keeping the public beach parking for 24-hour use – in which it was intended – for fishermen and surfers to gather food and enjoy the Hawaiian sport of surfing anywhere on Kaanapali Beach with free, open access to the public, and to control the many beach vendors and hotel workers from beach parking abuse,” Draper explained.

At the time Draper inquired about beach parking, attorney Lance D. Collins sought similar information.

Collins explained that he has been working with a group of researchers putting together an online database of information regarding access to West Maui beaches and the shoreline for several years. The database is almost ready to go live.

“It happened that as Randy was asking the county for help, we were separately making record requests for information related to beach access in Kaanapali. The timing was fortuitous for everyone: Randy, the county and the researchers,” he noted in an e-mail.

The county Department of Planning eventually conducted a site inspection, reviewed the permits and contacted Whalers Village and six resorts: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali Alii, Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club and Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.

Noting that the department researched its files on the development permits and conditions for the resort properties, Deputy Planning Director Michele Chouteau McLean in a Feb. 1, 2016, letter stated: “Each property also has specific terms and conditions relating to its individual requirement to provide parking for public beach access. If these terms and conditions are not being satisfied, then the Department will take appropriate enforcement action.”

The Planning Department sent Draper an update last week noting that the Sheraton, Whalers Village and Hyatt are compliant.

Kaanapali Beach Hotel needs to eliminate the time restriction from its signs and clearly mark the pavement for beach parking. The Westin needs to provide 30 stalls (the planner’s count was 28), and the Kaanapali Alii needs to eliminate the time restriction from its signs.

The planner counted ten beach parking stalls at the Marriott; management stated that it will provide 35.

The department plans to visit the resorts next month to see if changes have been made.

Draper said that for many years, public beach parking requirements were not monitored or enforced.

He added, “The County of Maui did nothing about it until now!”

Draper said the county enforcement will benefit local residents “by giving them their rights back; to use the beach or any public beach parking lot to park their car, at any time day or night, until the end of time! This group includes my son, Luis, and my grandson, Taven, my granddaughter, Malie, and all of their friends and families that keep growing.”

Draper acknowledged Collins, McLean and Lahaina News for their help in the effort, which saw him refuse to accept dead ends and badger the Planning Department with phone calls.

“Thanks to all of these people for realizing this must be done before being lost forever,” Draper concluded.

Collins also emphasized the importance of preserving beach access.

“Beach access is important because the shoreline is owned by the public, and the public should always have reasonable access to it. Many government approvals for development along the shoreline have been conditioned on ensuring beach access in perpetuity. But as time marches on, memories fade and access is encroached. The purpose of the database is to prevent memory-fade and allow the community to have a permanent repository of information regarding beach access in West Maui,” he explained.