Maui Time

Maui groups sue DLNR over Ka`anapali tour boats

Lahaina resident Randy Draper has spent many, many years fighting for beach access public parking in West Maui. Back in 2016, we wrote about his pressure on the County of Maui to make sure they’re enforcing the public access rules on the big Ka‘anapali resorts. He’s still at it, of course–now he’s part of a new lawsuit filed against the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by a group of West Maui individuals and groups. Their suit has a number of goals, but chief among them is making sure the state doesn’t allow all the tour boats that do business in Ka‘anapali to suck up its remaining public beach access parking.

“We fought to get these public access parking stalls required so local people could also enjoy the beach at Ka‘anapali,” said Draper in a Nov. 22 news release sent out by attorney Lance Collins, who is representing the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit. “These public stalls are not to be used by the hotels and they shouldn’t be available to outsider commercial outfits either.”

Draper, the hui Na Papa‘i Wawae ‘Ula‘ula and the West Maui Preservation Association are suing DLNR over the way it currently issues permits to the many tour boats that use Ka‘anapali Beach.

“The groups initially became concerned when after careful study, it was determined many customers of these tour operators regular take up the beach access parking stalls of numerous hotels along Ka‘anapali Beach,” states the news release from Collins. “These public beach access parking stalls were required to be made available to the public to allow access for non-commercial recreational beach uses as a condition of developing or redeveloping their hotels.The tour boat operators externalize the cost of customer parking by using these stalls and depriving the public of its entitlement to beach access parking. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible for the dozens of boats that receive permits to anchor at Ka‘anapali to all use the single pump-out station at Lahaina small boat harbor, five miles away, meaning that the waste from these boats are discharged directly into the ocean.”

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for DLNR referred me to the Attorney General’s office. “We are reviewing the lawsuit and whether the Hawaii Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding aquarium fish collection applies to this case,” said Joshua Wisch, a special assistant to the Attorney General.

Photo: Rick Obst/Flickr