Ban of Sunday commercial activities at Kailua Beach Park faces final vote

Categories: Sabbath Issues

HONOLULU- A bill that would outlaw nearly all commercial activities on Sundays at a popular stretch of beach in Kailua faces a final vote next week after being passed unanimously Tuesday by the City Council’s Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Bill 5 was sponsored by Windward Oahu Councilman Ikaika Anderson more than a year ago after local residents complained large tour buses and unpermitted kayak rentals were taking over KailuaBeach Park, especially on weekends.

“They’re taking up parking that should be reserved for residents and visitors who come to the beach,” testified Kailua resident Lisa Cates.

Anderson’s measure would also outlaw commercial vending activities at nearby Kalama Beach Park as well as all public beach access points in Lanikai.

Parks and Recreation Director Gary Cabato began revising administrative rules last fall to try and tackle the problem on his own, however a legal review could take as long as six months.

“Yes I am close to getting some resolution done,” Cabato told members of the committee, “but it’s not going to move as quick as the community wants it done.”

A frustrated Anderson accused Mayor Peter Carlisle’s administration of dragging its feet, saying Bill 5 would not be under consideration if new administrative rules had been presented sooner.

“For whatever reason it’s their failure to get out their final revision of their draft document,” said Anderson.

Several Kailua and Lanikai residents testified in support of Bill 5 during Tuesday’s committee hearing.  They say unpermitted commercial activity has reduced parking and blocked beach access.  Most of the complaints were directed toward four companies that provide kayak rentals by lining up dozens of the plastic boats on the sand at Kailua Beach Park.

“They’re competing for space,” said Kailua resident Randy Cates.  “For one guy to sit there with thirty-two kayaks for several hours and block access, that’s where the conflict comes from.”

Currently, only one company, Naish Hawaii, is permitted to provide windsurfing lessons at Kailua BeachPark.  There’s also a lunch wagon concession that sells food from two separate trucks.  All other endeavors, including kayak rentals, operate without a license from the city.

Cabato’s revision of administrative park rules would allow only two permitted beach concessionaires to operate at Kailua Beach Park at one time.  He says the winning bidders would be allowed to rent surfboards, boogie boards, standup surfboards, windsurfers and kayaks.

Bob Twogood of Twogood Kayaks Hawaii Inc. believes a system of permits would calm the situation greatly, but he hopes it’s not limited to the two highest bidders.

“A permit system that allows the drop-off of kayaks, if it were enforced, would solve the current problems and make it work for everyone in Kailua,” Twogood told Khon2.

Anderson said he would move to amend Bill 5 further when the full Council takes up the measure for a final vote next Wednesday.  Anderson’s floor draft would include the following:

–          Tour buses entering Kailua Beach Park would be limited to the turnaround area of parking lot

–          No tour buses would be allowed at the canoe halau parking lot at any time

–          No concessions would be allowed from 1 p.m. Saturday until 6:30 a.m. Monday

–          All rental kayaks must launch from the DLNR boat ramp & follow state boating rules

–          An exemption would be made for canoe regattas held on weekends