Settlement reached to restore beach access to Honokōwai

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A settlement has been reached between a shoreline protection group and the owners of two beachfront condominiums in Honokōwai. Nā Papaʻi Wawae ʻUlaʻula group member Kai Nishiki said the settlement is restoring public beach access to the area for generations to come.

” We are pleased. My kids are much older now, but it’s actually for all the keiki in Hawaii so they have access to our shores,” Nishiki said, noting that there has been an increase in user conflict. that were unresolved, failure to maintain access and lack of enforcement.

“So we had to take it upon ourselves to form a community group and go to court,” Nishiki said.

Under the settlement reached by the Environmental Court, a pathway will be established along the northern edge of the Hale Mahina Beach Resort property. The trail will also abut the southern property line of the Hoyochi Nikko Resort.

Brian W. Tilker with Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris & Knorek, attorney for AOAO Hale Mahina Beach Resort provided Maui Now with a statement saying, “The AOAO Hale Mahina Beach Resort believes the settlement strikes an appropriate balance in that It provides the public with access to the shoreline, while ensuring the safety of those who will use the trail in the future. Specifically, the by-law provides for the installation of a guardrail or other barrier at the end of the access trail along with signage, to provide adequate warning to the public.

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“Our legal team and a mediator met with our group and the owners to reach a settlement where they will install a coastal path from the road to the ocean. It took several months, but we finally reached an agreement, and work is expected to begin shortly to clear the path and open it to the public,” Nishiki said.

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Under the agreement, the railing or barrier at the end of the path must remain in place unless and until the county approves a vertical access alternative such as a stairwell. Signage will also be installed. The settlement also calls for ongoing litigation involving the two stations to be dismissed.

“I think our county is challenged, mostly probably through funding and employee challenges, to have enough resources to properly care for our shorelines. We hope to work with the county and the budget process to show through our budget that our coastline is a priority,” Nishiki said.

“We will be working throughout Maui County to open up access to the Lost Shoreline to the public. And trying to work with county and state agencies to be more proactive in supporting and fighting for our access that we enjoy to our beaches. Hawaiʻi is very unique in that public access is a right to our beaches. Elsewhere in the world they are allowed to privatize beaches, so the State of Hawaii protects that right and we try to hold them accountable to ensure access in perpetuity for future generations,” Nishiki said.

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The two lawsuits we filed by Nā Papaʻi Wawae ʻUlaʻula with the West Maui Preservation Association, Archie Kalepa and Kanamu Balinbin, against the Hale Mahina Beach Resort and the Hoyochi Nikko Resort. The resolution was commemorated by the settlement agreement which all parties agreed to, along with the Fujiwara family, who own the land below the Hale Mahina Beach Resort.

Restored beach access. PC: Kai Nishiki

Restored beach access. PC: Kai Nishiki

Restored beach access. PC: Kai Nishiki

Restored beach access. PC: Kai Nishiki

Restored beach access. PC: Kai Nishiki

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