KAILUA-GATE: A POPULAR TRAIL
TO THE BEACH IS BLOCKED
Access paths seem to invite obnoxious behavior, crime
I, too, have many fond memories of L'Orange Place and the neighborhood hospitality. I felt welcome. It was a charming lane before all of the new and remodeled homes. It's still a lovely lane, just much more expensive. Many times I walked with my little girls down the lane to go to the beach. The nearby public access lane was closer but it usually was littered with trash and broken beer bottles. L'Orange was much nicer and safer.
Now I live on a lane -- not L'Orange Place -- with 10 homes and a private beach lane. We are responsible for maintaining that lane and paying taxes on it. It has been open for all to use. I have made friends of the neighbors who use the lane and have offered a little aloha to visitors who were renting a vacation cottage nearby. In a way, it was a payback for my having had access down L'Orange Place.
This is the way it was. Now things have changed. Whatever the cause, there are a lot of people who have little respect for others. Lack of respect seems to be a common thread seen throughout Hawaii. It has just changed.
These are some of the problems we have had to deal with right in front of our homes:
» First there were large groups of mostly young people walking up and down the lane at all hours and only about 10 feet from my bedroom. They were usually drinking and were loud and boisterous.
» Drug activity could be seen at night and the remaining paraphernalia could be seen the next day. We had to be careful so that the children didn't find needles and used condoms first.
» Then there were more and more beach fires. The smoke fills my home and I have trouble breathing, not to mention the smell of burning scrap wood sometimes soaked in creosote or treated wood. (I have no idea how toxic that is.) With four out of the 10 neighbors being elderly and several young children in the neighborhood, smoky fires are a genuine health issue.
» Then there is the garbage left behind, and some of it is pretty disgusting. There are no comfort stations anywhere nearby. Beer bottles and cans are nothing compared to the worst of the worst.
» Parents drive down the narrow lane to drop off and pick up their kids going to the beach or to surf. They leave the engines running, so we have noise and gasoline fumes sometimes for far too long, then they often speed away. If they would just drop them off on Kalaheo and not drive down the lane it would be much better and the kids would get a little exercise.
» The speeding down a narrow lane with only five homes with small children and dogs is downright dangerous. I can no longer feel safe just letting my dogs out in the front yard because someone might be speeding down the lane.
» Parking has been only an occasional problem. The lane is narrow, so few tried to park there. When they did it really blocked the lane.
» My home and my neighbors' homes have been broken into many times and I have woken up in the middle of the night to find someone inside my fenced yard. They just climb over the wall. I have come home at night to find someone in my home helping themselves to whatever. You cannot leave your garage door open for even a moment.
» I have had young people chase one of my old, deaf dogs and try to run her down with a bicycle. If I ask them to stop, I just get called nasty names. Then I worry about them returning to vandalize or paint graffiti.
We solved our problem. We put up a locked gate. If you are a neighbor and will respect us, you might have the combination. Please don't share it and please lock the gate behind you.
Suzanne Jackson lives in Kailua.
BACK TO TOP
Let’s compromise -- lock it at night
My parents, Poni and Chuck Watson, moved to Kailua in the 1940s. We were the first family to live on Dune Circle. But when I was 15, against my dad's strong protests, the other homeowners on that private road put up a locked gate. We moved to Lanikai because we felt the aloha was gone. Dune Circle was no longer home for us.
Kailua no longer seems like home to me now. I've been living on Kainui Place for 23 years, and had been using the beach path at the end of nearby L'Orange Place without incident all this time. Then, last month, the current homeowners put up a locked gate to block beach access for their own neighbors.
Our family was friends with the Staple family on L'Orange. Everyone knew the Staples. Mrs. Staple ran a swim school where many Kailua families children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren learned to swim. They were eventually forced off of L'Orange by someone who objected to her clients parking on that road. Usually, no more than one or two kids at a time were being given lessons. It was a sad day when Mrs. Staple had to move.
As I drive up and down Kalaheo Avenue, I see "No Beach Access" signs on almost every road. What started as a single gate on Dune Circle has spread like a cancer up and down Kailua Beach.
It isn't fair, either, for homeowners who live near the public accesses to have to shoulder the burden for all the extra car and foot traffic when these gates go up. Their streets will be subjected to more parking problems, noise and litter because the few public accesses that still exist will be the only way for people to get to the beach. As it is, some homeowners on streets near public accesses have already been using rocks and plants to keep people from parking next to their property.
We also need more public access for the elderly, the disabled and, perhaps most importantly, for emergency vehicles. What if someone needs an ambulance or fire engine to help save a loved one? Emergency responders would have to search for a homeowner to open a gate on these private roads. I could find only three public access ways along Kalaheo Avenue. They are much too far apart, and some aren't even marked.
A fair compromise would be for all of these gates to be left open during the day and locked at night, which is when most of the problems they complain about occur.
This gated community mentality has gotten out of hand in Kailua. The beach belongs to all of us. Please do not let this issue die because a few wealthy homeowners believe they are entitled to have their own private beachfront areas. Contact your elected representatives in the City Council, state Legislature and the Kailua Neighborhood Board. Tell them you want them to do what is "pono" for all of us who call Hawaii home.
Wendy Watson-Erickson lives in Kailua.