Kaanapali Beach businesses get reprieve
Parasail, personal watercraft and surfing businesses on Maui's famous Kaanapali Beach are not being moved off the sand yet.
The state had considered banning commercial activity providers from setting up their umbrellas, chairs, lifejackets, beach stands, surfboards and kayaks on the 4-mile-long beach after some Maui residents complained about clutter on the sand.
"Now that there's more and more commercial activity, we need to address it once and for all. The state should not be obligated to give a commercial entity public property to do their business."
Ed Underwood / Administrator, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation
But the Board of Land and Natural Resources voted unanimously yesterday to allow currently permitted businesses on the beach to continue operating as they have been for three more months.
"It's our beach. We love it," said Don Kellam of Kellam Bros. Inc., which launches snorkeling and whale-watching cruises from the beach. "To not have an umbrella and be out there for 12 hours, we can't do that."
The state will hold meetings on Maui starting next week to work on creating rules that will decide how much -- if any -- equipment businesses can station on the beach, said Ed Underwood, administrator of the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.
"Now that there's more and more commercial activity, we need to address it once and for all," Underwood said. "The state should not be obligated to give a commercial entity public property to do their business."
None of these kinds of businesses are allowed at Oahu's Waikiki Beach, which is governed by the same rules as Kaanapali Beach. The state's eventual decision on what to do about commercial activity at Kaanapali could spread throughout Hawaii.
Kaanapali Beach has repeatedly been named one of the best beaches in America by magazines and travel guides. It is wider and longer than Waikiki Beach, which has opened more space for businesses to set up shop on the sand.
Water sport companies say it would be difficult to outfit customers with lifejackets when they cannot keep them at the beach. They are also worried about forcing their employees to work in the sun all day without umbrellas or chairs.
"The way we've been doing it for the last 25 years, we'd desire to keep doing it that way," said Greg VanderLaan, an owner of UFO Parasail.
Beach businesses might have to move their operations to private property owned by hotels nearby, Underwood said.
"It's just a mess, the whole beach," said board member Jerry Edlao. "If we're going to do this, we might as well do it right. We're trying to go for uniformity throughout the state."
The board renewed 33 commercial use permits yesterday at Kaanapali Beach and temporarily backed off the equipment ban. Ten catamarans and five monohull vessels are allowed to operate from the beach.