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Nanakuli beach to close at night


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POSTED: Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Nanakuli beach that was the scene of a fatal beating last year will be closed to overnight use in the city's latest step to clear Leeward Coast beaches.

; The Zablan portion of Nanakuli Beach Park will be closed March 15 for a weeklong project to repair and replace irrigation systems, toilet facilities, picnic tables and park benches and do extensive landscape maintenance, according an announcement.

After that it will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

About 200 people live in that area, according to Patty Teruya, chairwoman of the Nanakuli Neighborhood Board. “;Our board and the Waianae Neighborhood Board support closing it overnight. We've told the city, 'It isn't safe anymore, you have to close it down.'”;

Leeward resident Less Schnabel Jr. was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison for the April 2007 death of Christopher Reuther, 34, a North Carolina college student.

The city made the closure announcement six weeks in advance “;to give social agencies and everyone a lot of lead time,”; said Lester Chang, director of the city Department of Parks and Recreation. “;We look at the availability of shelters. The social agencies will try to work with people and help them.

“;We have done this all along the coast. We have been very sensitive to the community.”;

The city has already established the ban on overnight camping for the larger part of Nanakuli Beach Park.

Some of the illegal campers at Zablan “;immigrated when other Leeward beaches were cleared,”; Teruya said. “;Nowadays there is no excuse; we have emergency shelters and transitional shelters that the state and taxpayers paid a lot of money to set up. I can't feel sorry for them anymore.

“;We would like the beaches to be back for use by the whole community.”;

The Zablan park area is near homes and “;has gotten dangerous,”; Teruya said. “;Besides the killing, there were incidents of rape in the bathroom, numerous illegal activities.”;

She added, “;You can't blame the homeless for that, but the situation accelerates because so many live at the beach.”;