City joins state in enforcement of illegal concrete pour at North Shore beachfront property

The city has now joined the state in threatening severe penalties over an illegal concrete pour on Ke Nui Beach.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 4:56 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 10, 2022 at 5:04 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -The city has now joined the state in threatening severe penalties over an illegal concrete pour on Ke Nui Beach.

On a coastline already marred by illegal erosion barriers — the concrete and rebar reinforcement of this house owned by Josh Van Emmerik created a new level of outrage for Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

“We have shoreline management rules in place, they have been in place for a while,” the mayor said. “Putting in rebar and dumping cement or whatever — it’s just off the charts you can’t do that.”

The city usually leaves shoreline protection to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is threatening its own set of fines and possible criminal prosecution if the illegal hardening is not removed.

But now, the city Department of Planning and Permitting is issuing two notices of violation against the owner for building a concrete slab foundation without building permits and failing to apply for shoreline variances.

The city NOVs say the illegal work must be removed by Nov. 11, and a new permit must be obtained in order to remove the material. The notices do not state a potential fine, but do say the violations can be referred to the city prosecutors if not corrected.

Blangiardi met with the governor and state Land Boar Chair Suzanne Case last week and says they agreed the city and state should work together on enforcement.

“We are going to collaborate with the state,” Blangiardi said. “There have been some real concerns; there’s been a lack of enforcement. From the standpoint of the gravitas of this situation, I think that when we have serious violations, they have to be dealt with.”

It remains to be seen whether the threats of fines will bring quick response.

We’re told by family, Van Emerik will not comment, despite several efforts to reach him. He bought the house only two months ago and the state documented the violations in late September.

State and county land laws and building codes give owners time to correct violations before fines kick in and lengthy appeals processes can take years to resolve while the alleged violations go uncorrected.

Perhaps because of that history, some beach advocates turned to social media to exact their own punishment.

Van Emerick owns the Gaslamp Restaurant in Kailua. Some people upset with what he’d done on the North Shore have retaliated against the restaurant by posting negative reviews on Yelp.

One from Waipahu said, “No respect or consideration for his community....Do not support him by supporting this business.”

That was posted last Wednesday.

By Monday morning, it and a number of other posts had been removed for violating Yelp’s content policy and no reviews mentioning the controversy were on the restaurant’s page.