Maui News

Kahana Sunset Proposes Seawall Replacement

June 3, 2014, 10:31 AM HST
* Updated June 4, 9:31 AM
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Kahana Sunset seawall photos, state Environmental Assessment/ prepared courtesy Chris Hart & Partners Inc.

Kahana Sunset seawall photos, state Environmental Assessment/ prepared courtesy Chris Hart & Partners Inc.

By Wendy Osher

The Kahana Sunset AOAO is proposing to construct a replacement seawall, drainage improvements, and beach access path within the shoreline setback of an existing 79-unit condominium resort site in West Maui.

As part of the proposed project, an existing 114-foot seawall and concrete stairway will be demolished and removed from within the Shoreline Setback Area.

The project calls for the construction of a new 125-foot 15-inch wide replacement wall to be constructed about 10 feet inland; and a 13-foot wide stairway will be constructed about 30 feet inland of the existing structure.

The applicant states that, “the proposed retreat of the seawall will serve to protect existing habitable structures, widen the beach, and prevent underlying soils from entering the ocean.”


The Kahana Sunset is located on more than 4 acres of land along Keonenui Bay, between Haukoe and Alaeloa Points.


According to information contained in a Final Environmental Assessment for the project, the condominium complex was constructed in 1971, and over the years has experienced seasonal coastal erosion that has caused portions of the existing walls to fail over time.

The document states that the Kahana Sunset experienced severe damage to its seawalls in 2009, threatening habitable structures. Two years later, in 2011, one of the seawalls began developing severe cracks. The document states that the seawall is in danger of collapse due to the undermining of its foundation, with sinkholes appearing inland of the structure.

According to the FEA, the purpose of the project is to enhance public safety and create a long-term solution to stabilize the bank and shoreline at Keonenui Bay.


The archaeological and historical portion of the document notes that the parcel was owned by the Yabui family who lived at the site since the 1940s prior to the condominium construction.

A Cultural Impact Assessment prepared in March of 2012 by Jill Engledow notes that the property was previously owned by a Chinese merchant who sold the property to the Yabui family, and returned to China. The document further states that “although historical evidence indicates the area was sparsely populated, the bay was a popular fishing site.”

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