HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee of the Honolulu City Council unanimously approved a proposal Tuesday to prohibit almost all commercial activity in city owned beach parks in Kailua on Sundays. The measure is intended to give residents some relief from increased commercial activity, especially kayak rentals.
Meanwhile the city administration is finalizing a separate proposal to limit commercial activity at Kailua Beach Park by allowing just two vendors to operate there while prohibiting other rental companies from entering the park. The two concessions would be awarded to the highest bidders.
The administration proposal is being reviewed by city attorneys. Once their legal review is finished a public hearing will be scheduled so residents, businesses, and others can comment on the proposal.
The full city council will take a third and final vote on its Sunday ban on commercial activity when the council meets in Kapolei Wednesday, February 15.
Council member Ikaika Anderson, who represents Kailua, introduced the "No Sundays" proposal in January, 2011. At the time his proposal would have outlawed all commercial activity in all city beach parks on Sundays.
Anderson has revised his "No Sundays" proposal limiting the prohibition on commercial activity to Kailua Beach Park, Kalama Beach Park, and all city owned beach accesses from Lanikai to the Aikahi end of Kailua Beach.
In October Anderson put his proposal on hold in favor of the administration proposal. But now, four months later, Anderson is frustrated the administration has still not adopted new rules. That is why he reintroduced his "No Sundays" bill.
"Our community has been overrun by these activities, and sitting here today listening to this discussion - could be six weeks, could be another six months before legal review (of the administration proposal) is pau which means that we go into the busty summer season with status quo. And in our community … going with status quo I can tell you is going to be absolutely unacceptable," Anderson said.
Seven people testified at Tuesday's Parks Committee hearing on the kayak rental controversy. All seven spoke in favor of placing limitations on kayak rentals.
"The community in Kailua, we support our businesses, but we need fair access to our beaches," said Kailua Resident Lisa Cates. "The commercial activity is out of control and something needs to be done," she concluded.
"I have pictures of proof of these vendors blocking our right of ways so you can't walk through," resident Laurie Lindsay added.
"It's the amount of commercial activity that's going on. It's just not acceptable for a small residential area," said resident Ann Dewey.
No one from any of the rental companies attended Tuesday's committee hearing. Representatives are expected to testify before the full City Council Wednesday. In the past they have argued they create dozens of badly needed jobs, generate tax revenue for the state, and fulfill the marketing promise made to visitors that they will be able to kayak and enjoy other ocean activities when they vacation in Hawaii.
The largest rental company in Kailua, Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks (KSK), will likely not be affected by either the administration proposal or Anderson's "No Sundays" proposal. KSK is walking distance from the ocean. Its customers can rent kayaks and walk them to the beach without entering the beach park.
It is also possible neither proposal will stop rental trucks from parking on narrow strips of public property between Kailua Beach Park and Kawailoa Road. The land there belongs to the Department of Transportation Services. It is not part of the beach park and therefore would not be subject to park rules.