Kailua gate halts beach traffic
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Some beachgoers are upset that a gate was installed on a private road in Kailua that blocks access to Kailua Beach Park.
A "no beach access" sign was placed at the entrance of L'Orange Place when the gate was installed a month ago.
Fifteen of 16 households on the private road supported installation of the gate, citing safety and security concerns.
Among L'Orange Place residents, only Robert and Trudy Moncrief do not support the gate, saying the road should be available for public use.
Members of the Kailua Neighborhood Board's Sustainability Committee are expected to address the gate issue at a 7 p.m. meeting today at the Kailua Recreation Center. The meeting is open to the public.
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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
This beach gate on L'Orange Place in Kailua is generating controversy, with some people saying it keeps beachgoers from the shoreline. Area resident Trudy Moncrief showed the gate, which has a touch-pad lock, yesterday.
Some mornings, Dianne Price would find used condoms on her mock orange bushes.
Some nights at 2 a.m., large groups would walk down her lane to build bonfires on Kailua Beach.
Those and other concerns led the residents of L'Orange Place to put up a locked gate blocking their private road. That was a month ago.
Some beachgoers are now complaining about the loss of convenient access.
"It seems, at best, unneighborly," said Ben Willkie, a Kainui Drive resident who had used the route at least once a week to head to the beach with his wife, Veronica, and 5-year-old son.
Members of the Kailua Neighborhood Board's Sustainability Committee will discuss concerns involving the gate at 7 p.m. today at the Kailua Recreation Center.
Fifteen of 16 households on L'Orange Place supported the gate installation, citing safety and security concerns. Residents, members of the L'Orange Place Community Association, were issued a code that lets them unlock the 6-foot gate, which stretches about 20 feet across the end of the roadway.
Price, who has lived on L'Orange Place for more than 20 years, said every home on the private road has been robbed at least twice. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic, litter, loitering and noise have increased in recent years, she said.
Liability was another concern. Residents could be held responsible if someone was hurt on the road or even on the beach, because beachgoers could cite access via L'Orange Place, Price said.
"We're not denying beach access," said Price. "We're denying access to private property."
A "no beach" sign was added to the entrance of the roadway, along with the posted no-trespassing and private-road signs.
Robert and Trudy Moncrief were the only residents on L'Orange Place who did not favor the gate, saying the road should be available for public access.
"There are a lot of people alarmed by this," said Robert Moncrief, a resident since 1970. "I think this whole thing is a travesty. ... They're excluding all these people."
The Moncriefs said they fear more gates will be installed at other private side streets along Kalaheo Avenue, further blocking access to the beach.
"It's going to start this chain of reaction of exclusivity," he said.
City Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall, who represents District 3 (Waimanalo-Kaneohe), said that while it is frustrating for beachgoers, the residents are within their rights.
"It's a private beach access owned by the adjacent homeowners," she said.
Homeowners who allow public access receive a tax break. L'Orange Place residents had opted to pay additional taxes when the gate was installed, she added.
There is another public access route about 200 yards away, near Kailuana Street.