Safety Zone Resurfaces Banning Disorderly Conduct at Ahu O Laka
By Wendy Osher
The state will once again enforce emergency rules banning drugs and alcohol use at Ahu o Laka on O’ahu. The safety zone around the popular recreation spot, also known as the Kane‘ohe Sandbar, will go into effect during the Admission Day holiday weekend–this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The rule was initiated prior to the July 4th holiday in response to an increase in overcrowding and incidents involving drugs and alcohol over the past several years. The rule is in effect for 120 days on three-day weekends and state holidays, while the Department of Land and Natural Resources prepares to begin a formal rule-making process to establish permanent rules.
The Land Board amended Hawaii Administrative Rule (HAR) Title 13 Chapter 256 by adopting a new section 13-256-73.13 to address activities anticipated to pose an imminent peril to the public health, safety or morals at Ahu o Laka. The temporary zone covers just over a square mile and is defined by six marker buoys.
“This new rule is helping protect our residents and families so they can peacefully enjoy this unique ocean location,” said William J. Aila, Jr. DLNR Chairperson.
Over the July 4 holiday weekend, DLNR enforcement officers issued three citations for unauthorized possession of alcohol within the Ahu O Laka safety zone. Violations are subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000, or less than $50, for each violation.