County to fine Napili Sunset for armoring its property without approval
NAPILI – During the morning hours of Aug. 23, West Side activist Kai Nishiki video-documented a construction crew ripping apart the shoreline fronting Napili Sunset.
Hurricane Lane was headed our way the next day, and the Napili Bay property was armoring its frontage in advance of the projected onslaught without a permit.
Nishiki’s postings on the Access Denied! Surf?Fish?Di-
ve? Facebook page about the rogue construction activity went viral, local-style; and the response to the vigilante action taken by the Napili Sunset homeowners to protect the property at the expense of others was anything but compliant.
There were damages that had occurred; safety was in question.
“These guys were dropping huge boulders on the beach from the property 20 feet above while little kids (were) walking by!” Nishiki exclaimed.
Dana Reed, Napili Bay and Beach Foundation director, witnessed the events as they unfolded that morning.
In a later interview, she recalled: “It is not yet clear to me whether the general manager knew that there was no permit for the work that was going on. I talked to him the day that Kai came and effectively shut them down. I asked about a permit and was told there was a permit for the work.”
“However,” Reed objectified, “I told him I was not happy about what was going on, because they were working during a hurricane warning, had no BMPs (Best Management Practices) in place and could not produce a permit.
“Furthermore, they were making a mess with mud everywhere. I saw that there were large rocks that had been dropped on the property that were being lowered to the beach with heavy equipment.”
Reed, West Maui regional coordinator for Hui O Ka Wai Ola, had other pointed questions.
“I asked if the rocks were new, and the answer I got was ‘maybe.’ I asked the contractor in charge when they started work, and it was just the day before. It was clear to me that they were trying to sneak this work in before Hurricane Lane in hopes that high storm surges would not undermine the property.”
Accomplished photographer Damian “Dooma” Antioco was taken aback by the action: “What are they doing? Seawall coming? Removing rocks will make all that dirt fall and go into the ocean. Bad timing – storm surf’s gonna make all that dirt wash out. What are they thinking?”
The authorities were subsequently called; and, on Friday, Sept. 7, 15 days later, Joe Alueta, county Planning Department deputy director, released a statement.
There was no authorization for emergency work granted for the shoreline area at Napili Sunset, he said.
Work was ordered to stop, and Napili Sunset complied.
Two citations were issued for the following violations: “removal of a section of the existing rock structure; new rock material placed along the shoreline; staging of new rocks along Hui Road; use of heavy equipment; activity within the public beach access; and work in the shoreline area without the use of appropriate Best Management Practices to minimize safety and environmental impacts.”
Appropriate fines will be imposed, it was noted, “as per County of Maui Special Management Rules 12-202-25 and County of Maui Shoreline Rules 12-203-17.”
“Fortunately,” Alueta added, “the activities so far have not incurred damages to the beach or water quality. However, alterations to the shoreline area may have to be corrected.”
But that was before Olivia made landfall near Kahakuloa and swamped the West Maui Mountains from Waihee to Kahana and points beyond on Sept. 12.
Enter Nishiki again, video-documenting the damages a second time as the muddy runoff drained unchecked down the damaged beach access path next to Napili Sunset onto the sand and into the bay.
Tere Patterson responded to the affront: “Too bad we all have to suffer because of their No Aloha for our aina.”
Brown water advisories, however, were not isolated to the West Maui shoreline; the warnings were posted island-wide.
“We need to solve our coastal erosion issues,” Reed advised, “but need to do that in a legal and safe way!”
Pat Lindquist, president and founder of the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation, is on the same page.
“We need to put heads together to think of best practices and infrastructure improvements to help maintain the health of Napili Bay,” and all of the coral reefs and marine life along our beloved West Maui shoreline.