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Lagoon access carries some prohibitions


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POSTED: Monday, February 02, 2009

Question: We are a local family who rented a hotel room at Ko Olina over Christmas at the JW Marriott. We were told we were not allowed to use the stand-up paddleboards in the lagoon because the lagoon is private property according to the Ko Olina Community Association. Is this true or not, based on the state law that beaches and ocean water is free and accessible to all?

Answer: In the 1980s, developers were given permission to turn Ko Olina into a resort area only after agreeing to allow public access to the beach and lagoons.

“;The lagoons are not public; they are man-made, but access is open to the public,”; said Sweetie Nelson, spokeswoman for the Ko Olina Community Association.

The lagoons are “;wholly maintained and paid for by the association,”; which has a long-standing set of covenants detailing use and prohibitions, she said.

“;Part of the covenants is that hard-surface flotation devices are not allowed,”; she said. Among other prohibitions: no open fires and no loud music.

Nelson said Marriott may apply to the association to allow guests to use specific devices or equipment “;if they want to assume the liability of renting those out or supplying them to guests.”; But if that happened, that would apply only to Marriott guests and not the general public.

It's a “;50-50”; divide regarding use of such equipment as paddleboards, she noted. Some people might want to use them because of the calm, flat surfaces in the lagoons, but others “;don't like people with hard-surface things in there.”;

Q: My husband and I were involved in a fender bender in October. A woman in a rental car rear-ended us while we were stopped at a traffic light. When we got out of the car, she was talking on the phone and denied that she hit us, even though her bumper was touching our bumper and (there were) scratches on our bumper. She carried no identification and kept telling us that there is nothing we could do to her and that she was from New York, etc. We called HPD, and the officer who responded did not ticket her for not having a driver's license. Our insurance company cannot locate her, most likely because the information she gave the officer was false. We did tell the officer that she went ballistic and tried to flee the scene.

The officer acted like it was really irrelevant. Did he do the right thing by getting her information by “;word of mouth”;? Now we have no evidence that she is the actual person on the “;minor collision report.”; What is the procedure the officer needed to follow when the driver did not provide a valid driver's license? If the officer is at fault, where can we file a complaint?

A: You did provide a report number, but we were told the information in that report is confidential and open only to the parties directly involved.

Because of that, the Honolulu Police Department could not comment specifically on whether the officer acted properly, said HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

However, she said officers do cite people for not having a driver's license.

You can pursue the matter by calling HPD's Internal Affairs Division at 529-3286 or by writing to HPD, Attention: Internal Affairs, 801 S. Beretania St., Honolulu 96813.