HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Conservation and Coastal Lands division surveyed a stretch of beach fronting homes in the Portlock area earlier this week, and will be notifying about 10 property owners of their need to have vegetation trimmed or cut back.
State statute defines all beaches in Hawaii as public, meaning that the public has access rights along all beaches and shorelines below the “upper reaches of the wash of the waves."
Anything obstructing that public right-of-way is against the law, which is why homeowners with vegetation growing beyond the high-water mark are being asked to clear it in order to be in compliance.
“Sometimes we get complaints from members of the public, other times this area for example, Maunalua Bay, it’s been kind of a repeat thing," said Salvatore Saluga, a Coastal Lands Program Specialist with DLNR. “It’s a plant, it will grow back, so we just kind of ensure that homeowners are keeping up with the law here allowing the public to access the beach area fronting their property. And as you can see everyone, Portlock, Kahala area, it’s always been a shallow beach, so,keeping it as wide as possible is a big priority.”
Officials say if a property owner ignores their request, they’ll get a notice of violation, and ultimately could be fined up to $2,000 for failing to comply. However, officials say fortunately nearly all homeowners clear their areas within the 30 days required by law.
If you come across a stretch of beach that is obstructed by vegetation or anything else that prevents your public access, you’re asked to call the state’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands at (808) 587-0399.
Your complaint can be filed anonymously, and officials recommend sending an email with pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.