Honolulu tightening camping laws

Ann Kobayashi
Ann Kobayashi

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

MAILI POINT--(KHNL) The Honolulu City Council is moving towards tightening up beach camping laws, creating another blow for homeless people on Oahu.

Officials say this will reduce the number of homeless people living in beach parks.

Under current camping laws, authorities are finding enforcement difficult.

The definitions of who and how long they can stay right now leaves many shades of gray.

Surf. Sun. Snacks. For the Randall family this is their spot.

"The bathrooms are close, it's close to our house we live right up the road," said Makiilei Randall.

But here at Maili Beach Park, it's hard to camp without dealing with dangers of unregistered campground guests.

"A lot of teenagers drinking at night, people doing drugs on the beach, sometimes they find packets and bring it to us and we say hurry throw it away wash your hands," said Randall.

"We weren't able to evict people without a permit," said Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi.

Councilmember Ann Kobayashi says defining what camping is and how long people can stay is a start. She says requiring permit will relieve a wave of worries.

"People should take the time to get a permit then they can get a designated spot and after this bill becomes law they'll be very secure," said Kobayashi.

City parks may soon be off limits from 10pm until 5am. People will still be allowed to access the beach but if they stop to hang out or set up a tent, they won't be cited for illegal camping, but illegal trespassing.

"I think it will help out and it'll make more families comfortable coming in," said Randall.

" You'll have your permit, you'll have your space and the law will protect you," added Kobayashi.

A move that will crackdown on illegal campers and allow citation enforcement, the Randall family says they'll sleep easier knowing unknown visitors and the homeless won't be on the horizon.

The city says camping permits are free and will only be given out to those who will use the grounds temporarily.The bill still needs to make it past two more readings before it can become a law, the soonest it can take effect is this fall.