Kahala residents fear hotel's beach wedding venue plans would privatize shoreline
KAHALA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Kahala Hotel and Resort is asking permission to use more state land for more weddings.
Residents against the plan say that will only make it even harder to access the public beach which is in front of the hotel's property.
"Everyone assumes that it's private and I believe that the hotel wants to reinforce that and make it even more private," said Kahala resident Jim Nicolay.
"They ask you to, 'Oh, can you walk in the ocean when you pass by so you won't upset our weddings? Oh, you can you walk in the back corridors in the hotel where we have the dirty dishes so you won't upset our paid for weddings?' and a high price I might add," said beachgoer Linda Wong.
The hotel already has two areas where they hold weddings. Now it is asking the state for an easement to use for a third wedding location.
"I can recall multiple times where I've had to decide whether I would walk through the water to avoid the wedding," said Nicolay.
"We're getting out rights taken away from us. It's a public beach!" said beachgoer Linda Wong.
Wong and Nicolay say they are especially upset that the public comment period ended on Tuesday and they just found out about it.
"It's a sweetheart deal that wasn't advertised. So the public is being duped," Wong said.
"I'm very concerned that the entire thrust of this is basically a privatization of prime beach-front land to take it from the public and give it to a private money-making enterprise," said Nicolay.
Nicolay said he would like the hotel to dedicate a route for the public and give the public priority in that pathway. Wong feels the hotel should only hold weddings on its property.
"There should be a contested case hearing. There should be some attorney somewhere who should do something about it for the public," she said.
Hawaii News Now reached to Kahala Hotel and Resort for comment, but have not gotten a response.
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