HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has ordered a Chinese developer to stop excavation work on an Ewa Beach oceanfront.
The move comes after longtime residents complained that Golden Lion Ewa Beach LLC was harming the coastline.
Jessica Luning said construction workers were scraping the coral reef with a backhoe and were removing concrete blocks that were in the ocean.
“It looked like they were digging into the reef but when we looked later it was a possibility they were removing rock piles old cement blocks," she said.
Added state Sen. Kurt Fevella:
“If your property is here and the ocean is there and you have a machine grabbing into the ocean, you should have had a special permit to excavate and remove things from the ocean," he said.
Fevella said some of the dirt that construction workers piled up washed back into the ocean, causing the water to get “milky and dirty.”
But a representative for Golden Lion denied any runoff had gotten into the ocean.
He said workers were simply removing man-made debris and large concrete blocks -- a job that was part of the project shoreline assessment that had the approval of the DLNR.
In a letter to Fevella, the DLNR said that while it didn’t believe the work impacted the coastline, it ordered Golden Lion to stop after receiving complaints from neighbors.
“Our staff met with the equipment operator and told him to cease operating in the coral rubble area adjacent to the jagged reef,” wrote Russell Tsuji, land administrator for the DLNR.
“It was our staff’s understanding that the heavy equipment would be located farther inland, and not in the shoreline area.”
The property at 91-603 Pohakupuna Rd. has been vacant for years. Last year, it was purchased by Golden Lion, which paid about $3.4 million.
The developer said he has cleaned up the land and removed homeless from the area.
But residents said the project will add further congestion to their already crowded neighborhood.
“I hope they understand that we will fight them all the way,” Fevella said.