I heard that the city's plan to expand Kuhio Beach and develop a Kalakaua Avenue promenade has been stopped because the Kapiolani Park Preservation Society (KPPS) has found documents showing that the city doesn't have authority to do the work -- that it's state jurisdiction. Is that true?
Waikiki plans go forward
despite city purview issue
The city is proceeding with plans, although the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is trying to get more details about the complaint by KPPS that the city cannot legally proceed with the project.
KPPS president Allan Voronaeff maintains the area is under state, not city, jurisdiction, in accordance with the Waikiki Beach Reclamation Agreement of 1928 between the Territory of Hawaii and affected property owners.
Under that agreement, a 75-foot setback from the high-water mark was established "that cannot be encumbered in any way for foot traffic or sunbathing or anything like that," Voronaeff said. "That all comes under the jurisdiction of the state of Hawaii."
Voronaeff wrote to DLNR last November, questioning whether the city Council had the authority to issue a shoreline management area permit or a shoreline setback variance to allow the city to proceed with its project.
He said the site map accompanying the Council resolution for the shoreline area permit was deficient because it did not include the area of Kalakaua Avenue that would be removed to expand the beach.
Voronaeff asked DLNR to refer the matter to state attorneys "for review and action in continuing efforts to protect Hawaii's beaches from intrusions."
DLNR did refer the matter to the attorney general's office, which "had more questions," DLNR spokeswoman Debra Ward said.
DLNR's Land Division then sent a letter to the city Department of Planning and Permitting on the matter.
"That's where it is now," she said. "It's pretty involved, because it's not just a matter of what's happening now; it goes way back."
City managing director Ben Lee, meanwhile, said he was surprised to hear of Voronaeff's complaint, which he said is based "on some technical issue."
The city's "concept is to extend the park ambiance along Kuhio Beach all the way to the existing police station and food concession area, adding more trees, landscaping and creating a pedestrian environment," he said.
Lee said the city has been working with the state to possibly widen the beach. "It's been a good partnership between the city and state."
Lee also said he wanted to meet with Voronaeff to try to resolve any problems.
"I don't believe this is an obstacle that we can't work together to overcome, especially if everyone is trying to improve the beach area. I think the state is trying to improve the oceanfront and the city is looking very hard to improve the beach side."
In the meantime, "we're moving forward with construction documents. We would like to get the drawings out to bid in February or March and get under construction hopefully in May or June," he said.
The city also will be coordinating its efforts with the visitor industry to minimize any disruption to the beach and traffic "and to coordinate our efforts with the peak season of the visitor industry."
To the good Samaritans who returned our son's wallet the night of Jan. 4, after he had dropped it in a parking lot. Honest strangers went out of their way to drive to our home to return it. We didn't get a chance to thank them or get their names. May only good things be brought upon you. -- J.K.
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