KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A privately-owned Kailua development along Kaapuni Drive plans to install three beach access gates, in a plan that's causing concern for the community.
The gates will only be locked at night, but residents are concerned it won't stay that way for very long.
"The beach is not privately-owned so to limit the access would be pretty hurtful to the public," Kailua resident Scott Nishikawa said.
The Ka'apuni Community Association, though, says the gates are being installed in an effort to curb illegal activity on the beach.
Councilman Ikaika Anderson says the plans have been in the making since 2015, and private owners are well within their rights to install the gates.
"(There are) campfires, folks drinking alcohol on the beach, leaving their alcoholic beverage containers behind and leaving cigarette butts behind," Anderson said.
But those who use the beach are concerned putting up gates will create what amounts to a private beach.
"They're saying they're going to keep it open during the day, but unfortunately that's what the other private roads around here said when they put up gates and most of those are now locked," said Kailua resident Micah Pregitzer.
"To an extent, it's going to keep the families out and the law-abiding citizens out, but the people that are causing the problems, breaking the rules using drugs, sleeping in the bushes, they're just going to jump over the fence."
Pregitzer says there are other options and hopes Kaapuni private owners reconsider installing the gates.
"I think a good way to do it would be to work together with the community to build a team that would that would focus on keeping the area clean already as it is," he said. "Beach cleanups and the people to call when there are illegal activities here."
The Kaapuni Community Association says there is no finalized date on when the gates will be installed.
According to a letter sent out last week, those who wish to access the beach in the evening can use a public access point at South Kalaheo and Kuuniu streets.