Beachfront Property Owners Asked to Trim Vegetation
By Maui Now Staff
An estimated 100 shoreline property owners in East Oʻahu are being asked to remove vegetation that state officials say is encroaching on the public beach transit corridor. Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands say at times, especially during high tides and periods of high surf, the vegetation made up of primarily naupaka and beach heliotropes, completely prohibits people from accessing the beach.
The property owners between Maunalua Bay and Kaʻalāwai Beach have been asked to correct the encroachment within 21 days, or face possible fines of $1,000 for a first offense, and $2,000 for each subsequent offense.
Andy Bohlander, a Shoreline Specialist with the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program is part of the team at OCCL charged with making sure that Hawaiʻi’s public beaches remain accessible to the public and free of encroachment.
Last week property owners along the stretch of beach received letters asking for their cooperation in removing encroaching vegetation.
Under state law, the “beach transit corridor” is defined as the area seaward of the shoreline. OCCL Administrator Sam Lemmo explained, “Private property owners are required to ensure that beach transit corridors abutting their private lands are kept free from the landowner’s human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation that interferes or encroaches in the beach transit corridors.”
In a press release statement, Bohlander said, “Once property owners become aware of the issue most of them voluntarily cut their vegetation back and continue to maintain it. We ’re really trying to cultivate a stewardship ethic along the shoreline.”