Beach User Hui Sues DLNR over Kā’anapali Tour Boat Operators

Maui Now graphic
Maui Now graphic | November 27, 2017

By Wendy Osher

A lawsuit has been filed against the state Department of Land and Natural Resources over the current permitting system for tour boat operators off of Kāʻanapali Beach.

Nā Papaʻi Wawae ʻUlaʻula, together with West Maui Preservation Association and West Maui waterman Randy Draper filed the suit.

The group claims that environmental impacts of tour boat operations that begin and end ocean based shorts directly offshore from Kāʻanapali Beach have never been reviewed. Maui Attorney Lance D Collins who is representing the group said the state is “uninformed of the environmental impacts.”

Our request for comment from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources was deferred to the state Attorney General’s office. Joshua Wisch, Special Assistant to the Attorney General responded to Maui Now’s request for comment saying, “We are reviewing the lawsuit and whether the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding aquarium fish collection applies to this case.”

The suit claims that many customers of these tour operations “regularly take up the beach access parking stalls of numerous hotels along Kāʻanapali Beach.”

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 plaintiffs claim that 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.”

“We fought to get these public access parking stalls required so local people could also enjoy the beach at Kāʻanapali. These public stalls are not to be used by the hotels and they shouldn’t be available to outsider commercial outfits either,” said Randy Draper of Nāpili.

The plaintiffs also expressed concerns over environmental impacts, saying its “nearly impossible for the dozens of boats that receive permits to anchor at Kāʻanapali to all use the single pump-out station at Lahaina small boat harbor, five miles away.”

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