Kailua homeowners group vote to gate private beach access at night

Kailua homeowners group vote to gate private beach access at night
Published: Mar. 25, 2015 at 2:05 AM HST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2015 at 1:01 AM HST
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Chester Taylor
Chester Taylor
Brian Merritt
Brian Merritt

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's legal. But some say it's not right.

A homeowners group in Kailua wants to keep people off their private street at night. But beachgoers worry about losing yet another path to a public shoreline.

Kaapuni Drive residents say a gate will be going up. But they say it's not to restrict access to beachgoers, it's to keep the crime out their neighborhood.

"It's gonna be open all day. And late at night, the board has proposed that we close the accesses for the purposes of keeping the homeless away, the litter, the vandalism," said lifetime Kaapuni Drive resident Chester Taylor.

Taylor says he and nearly 30 other homeowners voted for the gate to keep people from sleeping and lighting bonfires on the beach overnight.

"We do have a big homeless problem which is right here, this is kind of a homeless neighborhood,” Taylor said pointing to the bushes.

Taylor says he isn't against beach goers using the private path during the day. But some are suspicious.

"Where does it stop? They going keep on doing it," said lifetime Kailua resident Brian Merritt.

Merritt says even limited beach access isn't fair.

"Maybe the Kaapuni and the ocean-front residents who have unfortunately more wealth then most of the 'aina' can afford some type of nighttime security or neighborhood watch to police the beach, that may be a better idea,” Merritt said.

“Because we should have right to the beach, to come fishing with our kids, to come bring our kids tell stories, barbecue and so forth. And it if they put up a gate here, where does it stop? It doesn't stop," he said.

Merritt says this highlights the growing pains of this town, where the population has more than doubled since 1960, where beach access gates have been going up for years as luxury homes multiplied and Lanikai homeowners recently put up boulders to keep people from parking near their homes.

The city's Department of Planning and Permitting says Kaapuni Drive and the beach access path are privately owned by the Kaapuni Community Association.

Taylor says the gate isn't meant to keep good people out, but he says he and his neighbors deserve to feel safe.

“You don't really need people here that late at night because they're usually not up to much good.”

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