Enforcement of Maui beach concessions called a 'win for public access'

KAANAPALI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Following complaints about Maui beaches being crowded by cabanas and beach chairs, the state told one beach concession to halt operations.

The state checked three Kaanapali beach concession stands to see if they had permits.

The Whaler Pool Hale, the concession subcontractor fronting the Aston at the Whaler, did not have a commercial use permit so the state told them to stop operating, but tourists were allowed to finish their beach chair rental.

Lahaina resident Kai Nishiki followed state enforcement officers and Maui's boating division district manager, Paul Sensano, as they checked the concessions.

The enforcement action came after activists posted video and pictures on social media of hotels and beach concessions setting up chairs and cabanas on public chairs before they were rented. That's not allowed.

Nishiki said he was "elated" to see the state took the issue seriously.

"This is a win for public access to our beaches," he said.

Management at the Aston at the Whaler said it's working with its subcontractor on the issue and referred to them for further comment.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman Dan Dennison says the agency also wants to clarify the rules and provide consistency statewide for vendors on public beaches.

At Waikiki beach, community members have been taking pictures of beach chairs that they say are also set up in advance.

But one concession says it's following the rules.

"We don't preset umbrellas. We try our best to follow the state's rules and people have to come down and sign for that," said Clarence Booth, owner of the Waikiki Shore Beach Service.

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