Beach ownership is still in question ...

Beach ownership is still in question - Hawaii News

There are 84 comments on the Honolulu Star-Bulletin story from Nov 30, 2009, titled Beach ownership is still in question - Hawaii News. In it, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that:

The Intermediate Court of Appeals is scrutinizing a Hawaii law passed in 2003 that declares that new, naturally formed beach land above the high-water mark should belong to the public -- not adjoining private property owners.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Nancy

Honolulu, HI

#44 Nov 30, 2009
We should all applaud Senator Hemmings, Governor Lingle, Karen Simmons and Don Bremner for helping pass this important legislation. Letís all hope the Court will do the right thing and keep the law on the books.
Bob

Santa Barbara, CA

#45 Nov 30, 2009
Beaches should be public, even above the high tide line. If the beach is only public up to the high tide line, then it isn't very useful for a fun, public beach. I love this new law that brings new beaches to the public.
alice

Kihei, HI

#46 Nov 30, 2009
we didnt have beach access rights when i was growing up in poverty in north dakota.
Auntie TuTu

Kailua, HI

#47 Nov 30, 2009
Bob wrote:
Beaches should be public, even above the high tide line. If the beach is only public up to the high tide line, then it isn't very useful for a fun, public beach. I love this new law that brings new beaches to the public.
Bob from Santa Barbara , why don't you tell us about how the State of California manages public access to their beaches. Tell us about how much fun it is to pay a fee at the toll booths at all state parks and how pretty the Rangers look in their uniforms collecting the fees. Then tell us about the California Coastal Commission and the mammoth bureaucracy it has become. Tell us about the chains across the entrances when the beaches are closed by the Beach Rangers. Then tell us about how much it costs the taxpayer to fund all those government entities.

Can you remember when it was all free for the price of the gas to get to the beach? Can you remember when the parking was free? I can.

The next time you come to use our free public beaches perhaps there will be a toll boot for tourists, just like there is at Hanauma Bay so you feel more at home.
History

Paauilo, HI

#48 Nov 30, 2009
ChiChi McNugget wrote:
<quoted text>
The rules already exist and the ecological issue of growing vegetation has not been enforced by the respective agencies.
What the legislature did was throw out the common law of the State to favor themselves and further the power of the State over private land ownership. The vegetation growth issue was a red herring that could have been resolved under the current rules. Instead, the legislature threw the baby out with the bathwater to gain land that was legally available to the landowners without providing just compensation as is required under the Constitution.
The lower court and the former Governor understood the significance of reversing decades of legal practice and tradition and rejected the State's claim to ownership without providing the compensation. Undoubtedly, this will make its way to the Supreme Court and be decided on the merits of the case.
Given governments inability to manage well anything they own, it is a safer bet in the interest of the resident public to leave things the way they are in light of what the State and County governments have already done to the existing beaches under their control.
In most cases those beaches bordered by private owners make for some of the best and cleanest "off the beaten path" places where the locals know to hang out without the hustle of the crowds in the better known spots.
So if the State did not enforce the rules,its Ok to violate them? Locals? You mean only your friends need apply.
DADDY LAU

AOL

#49 Nov 30, 2009
It belongs to the people of Hawaii!!!!!!!! What are they thinking????????
loco moco

Richmond, VA

#50 Nov 30, 2009
Kalihi Fisherman wrote:
Same thing at Paiko and Wailupe. The homeowners have planted grass so that you can only use the beach at low tides.
Particularly annoying in the case of Wailupe. It used to be nothing more than a Navy radio shack on pilings in the middle of the mud flats. Then in the 50s they dumped fill in the ocean to create Wailupe. Just let anyone try to get away with that today! Then they closed off all ocean access so the public couldn't use it ("because it's all private land". Now they're trying to grab the scant beach that the ocean created and claim it for themselves too. Short on logic, l-o-n-g on greediness. Auwe!!
Reinhardt

Honolulu, HI

#51 Nov 30, 2009
DLNR DONT CARE wrote:
<quoted text>
DLNR wont enforce the law of them planting grass on the public beach when it comes to these folks. Laws that apply to the rest of us dont get enforced when you have money.
This is inaccurate. DLNR has folks committed to preventing encroachment on public shorelines. But they are grossly understaffed. If you can document such encroachment, with photos and maps, they will take action. But there are strong due process safeguards which make the process move VERY slowly.

You are needlessly badmouthing allies in this fight.
Reinhardt

Honolulu, HI

#52 Nov 30, 2009
Nancy wrote:
We should all applaud Senator Hemmings, Governor Lingle, Karen Simmons and Don Bremner for helping pass this important legislation. Letís all hope the Court will do the right thing and keep the law on the books.
The bill passed unanimously, so why single out Lingle and Hemmings among all the politicians?

If you read Hemmings' statements in the article, you will see he is trying to straddle the fence:

""We don't want shoreline landowners to accrete, or gain, beach area that they never owned in the first place," Hemmings said. "Nor do we want landowners to lose their land either because of erosion."

How does he propose landowners not "lose their land either because of erosion," except by armoring the shoreline?(And BTW Fred, you are misusing "accrete.")
Do whats right

Kailua Kona, HI

#53 Nov 30, 2009
Reinhardt wrote:
<quoted text>
The bill passed unanimously, so why single out Lingle and Hemmings among all the politicians?
If you read Hemmings' statements in the article, you will see he is trying to straddle the fence:
""We don't want shoreline landowners to accrete, or gain, beach area that they never owned in the first place," Hemmings said. "Nor do we want landowners to lose their land either because of erosion."
How does he propose landowners not "lose their land either because of erosion," except by armoring the shoreline?(And BTW Fred, you are misusing "accrete.")
You are right an overwhelming majority in the house and senate whole heartedly supported Act 73. They knew it was the right thing to preserve our public beaches and not be giving them away. This is an example of our elected officials acting on the behalf of the public and not for the $$$. They should be commended for that.
So much for Aloha

AOL

#54 Nov 30, 2009
This is nothing more then a bunch of entitled self righteous greedy nasty people trying to control the beaches and fishing area's. Look at Black Point where the majority of residents try and keep even the fishermen from the coastline access. So much for the Aloha spirit!
stop the overplanting

Kailua Kona, HI

#55 Nov 30, 2009
Reinhardt wrote:
<quoted text>
This is inaccurate. DLNR has folks committed to preventing encroachment on public shorelines. But they are grossly understaffed. If you can document such encroachment, with photos and maps, they will take action. But there are strong due process safeguards which make the process move VERY slowly.
You are needlessly badmouthing allies in this fight.
DLNR does do their best to do whats right. Unfortunately, its hard to determine where the high reach of the waves are when a property owner falsifies the vegetation through planting and watering (besides photos from neighbors). There has to be some other way to determine the high water mark. Seasonal waves do nothing to impact naupaka and other salt tolerant plants.
Look into deed

Ewa Beach, HI

#56 Nov 30, 2009
mark wrote:
Does anyone know the names of these people who are suing us the taxpayers?
They shouldnt be able to hide under their Maunalua Ohana shibai name.
Great point. Sounds so heartwarming using words like "ohana".

You want to bet they are probably from the mainland?

Every property's owner has their approximately land area stated in their
deed.

That's what they get.

Don't be greedy.

Ohana should share 'their land' with the public.
Reinhardt

Honolulu, HI

#57 Nov 30, 2009
Close HTA wrote:
This Pond scum attorney should be ashamed of himself for trying to fleece the taxpayers like this and steal the public beach.
I hope he and the rich greedy people he represents lose.
You might find comfort in demonizing the attorney, but in truth, Paul Alston is one of the most highly-regarded attorneys in Hawaii. Not just for his intelligence and legal skills, but also for his personal integrity.

Having said that, I disagree with his clients in this battle and join you in hoping he, and those he is representing, will lose.
Reinhardt

Honolulu, HI

#58 Nov 30, 2009
stop the overplanting wrote:
<quoted text>
DLNR does do their best to do whats right. Unfortunately, its hard to determine where the high reach of the waves are when a property owner falsifies the vegetation through planting and watering (besides photos from neighbors). There has to be some other way to determine the high water mark. Seasonal waves do nothing to impact naupaka and other salt tolerant plants.
Kailua has more protection in this regard than most other beaches, simply because Chip Fletcher lives there.

I have seen homeowners in Kailua try to encourage the seaward migration of plants through illegal sprinkling. But the property I monitored most closely was unsuccessful in their attempts as the vegetation line remained identical to that of the neighbors, who were NOT watering.

Just as there are landowners trying to encourage growth, there are beachgoers who willfully pull up akiaki grass and morning glory vines in order to spread out their towles on bare sand. As you walk the beach, observe what is happening at the right of way paths. There are sand dunes rising up at the entrance of each pathway, due to the trampling of vegetation which would otherwise hold down the sand.

For now, most of Kailua is actually accreting, but soon a combination of more severe storms and and a rising sea level, will result in greater erosion and waves will be undermining the yards and, eventually, homes.

Fred Hemmings will, thankfully, be gone, but there will be great pressure to "protect the homes" of those on the beach. So Fred's comments are disturbing.
Reinhardt

Honolulu, HI

#59 Nov 30, 2009
Look into deed wrote:
Every property's owner has their approximately land area stated in their
deed.
Not to confuse everybody, but the lawsuit has some merit. The customary way of determining the seawardmost boundary of shoreline property was the "high water line." It was recognized the shoreline is not fixed. Sometimes the landowner would gain and sometimes lose as the shoreline shifted.

Someone acquiring a deed during a period when a landowner was customarily recognized as having a claim to newly accreted land MAY have an argument. That is up to the court to determine. I think we should resolve it in favor of the public interest, but the courts and I do not always disagree.

Going forward, it is important that all beachfront homeowners and those considering the purchase of such property have a clear understanding they will not have a right to future accretions. And they will probably not have a right to armor the shoreline against erosion.

DLNR has actually published a pamphlet for those considering the purchase of shoreline properties as part of an underfunded campaign to educate the public. Realtors should probably be required to provide "informed consent" to prospective buyers. And all deeds should have clear language along these lines.

Mother Nature has the ultimate claim on defining the seaward edge of the property line. With the public claim, piggybacking on hers. Beachfront homeowners are temporary stewards of the land. Enjoy while you can. Bu the sea will eventually reclaim it. Please don't insist on "shovelling against the tide."
alice

Kihei, HI

#60 Nov 30, 2009
the beach belongs to all the people of hawaii, including myself.
Humu Humu

Honolulu, HI

#61 Nov 30, 2009
It's only fair that the law applies evenly. If your land can be taken away by natual errosion then it is only fair that land can be added if is occures naturally. Why does the government get the land? We are not talking about sandy beach areas, only areas where vegetation has NATURALLY occured.

Why does the homeowner get the land? Because we have a U.S. Constitution that places a high priority on PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS and was meant to limit government interferance.

While it may be popular to bash "rich people", "attorneys", "new residents" etc..., luckily the law is supposed to be blind and only follow the law.

For those beachfront owners that try to increase their lot area by planting and watering on the beach, they should strongly enforce action against them as this is clearly not fair.
Ogo man

Mililani, HI

#62 Nov 30, 2009
Linda bungle did it again.
Beach for all

Kailua Kona, HI

#63 Nov 30, 2009
Humu Humu wrote:
It's only fair that the law applies evenly. If your land can be taken away by natual errosion then it is only fair that land can be added if is occures naturally. Why does the government get the land? We are not talking about sandy beach areas, only areas where vegetation has NATURALLY occured.
Why does the homeowner get the land? Because we have a U.S. Constitution that places a high priority on PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS and was meant to limit government interferance.
While it may be popular to bash "rich people", "attorneys", "new residents" etc..., luckily the law is supposed to be blind and only follow the law.
For those beachfront owners that try to increase their lot area by planting and watering on the beach, they should strongly enforce action against them as this is clearly not fair.
Act 73 already includes provisions that state if private property is lost through erosion then it can be gained back by acretion but only that which is their original property. The lawsuit is not in regards to this. The owners in this suit are saying that any acretion on the beach, beyond their properties, is their just due. The question is why? Their reasoning is because they live next door to it. This may have been customary decades ago but it no longer makes sense. The beach is a living entity, always eroding and acreting. When it grows, the entire public should benefit not just one person.

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