Push to ban business at Kailua park is approved
Board members contend violations are out of control
Almost all commercial activity would be banned at Kailua Beach Park if the Kailua Neighborhood Board has its way.
The board voted 12-4 Thursday to recommend to city officials to put a ban into effect on most commercial activity at the popular beach.
"I'm all for water sports, but the commercial activity has taken over," resident Kalana Best said. "For some people it's paradise found. For the people who live here, it's paradise lost."
The recommendation to ban all commercial activity -- except filming and the snack bar -- does not prohibit the use of equipment rented off-site. It does, however, prohibit rental activities on the beach including kayak, windsurfing and surfboard rentals and instruction as well as delivery of rented equipment.
Board members said the issue has been ongoing for a decade and that violations are out of control and there is little enforcement of the rules.
A predominantly pro-commercial, pro-kiteboarding crowd of about 80 often grew contentious at Thursday night's board meeting.
Kailua resident Stann Reiziss said the beach should be available to everybody, but he cannot find parking at Kailua Beach Park because big commercial trailers of up to 25 kayaks park there.
"So I have to take my kayak and walk it to the beach," whereas those renting kayaks do not have to walk far, he said. "So who's getting the preference here?"
But Phil Kelly, who opposed the ban, said when he was younger and could not afford to buy a surfboard, he would rent one. It would be unfair if "Kailua's just for the rich people, but the poor people can't rent," he said, adding that taking lessons prevents accidents.
Bob Twogood, owner of Twogood Kayaks, said his business parks on a side street to drop off the kayaks: "We're gone and come back at the end of the day. It's a minimum amount of time."
Others said that restricting delivery of rental equipment will kill some Kailua businesses.
Parks Committee Chairman Charles Prentiss said 60 percent of the community in a 2004 survey opposed commercial activities at the beach.
The board also took up the issue of kiteboarding at the beach, voting 10-6 against recommending a prohibition on kiteboarding.
A few community members testified that it is a dangerous sport to other beachgoers. Some said houses are hit by the kites, while others complained that enthusiasts take lots of space on the beach to spread out their kite lines, which average 60 to 65 feet.
Board member Donna Wong noted that her daughter was sitting on the beach when she was nearly hit by an out-of-control kiteboarder.
Kiteboarders, who are already restricted to a specific launch zone, encouraged the board to allow self-policing and said posting of signs to help enforce existing state regulations would prevent violations from occurring.