Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Can Homeowners Block Off Beach Access?

July 18, 2016, 7:11 AM HST
* Updated July 18, 8:07 AM
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Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/2013. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/2013. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Dear Mayor,

Q: I have been launching my canoe from Palauea Beach for over a decade. There were always at least three beach access paths. Now that two new houses are being built on the beachfront, that has changed.

The northernmost path has been completely blocked by huge (minimum three-by-three-foot) boulders, which have “Keep Out” painted on them. The boulders form a wall of about 15 feet across, completely stopping access.


This just happened recently and it is not pono.


Since I believe that the remaining lots at Palauea are owned by the county, what will be done?

Additionally, I notice that across the street (mauka) from Palauea, residents have put out stones (small boulders) so that vehicles cannot park there. I have always understood these to be public parts of the street.

In fact a few years back, many owners on Mākena Road had to remove the big boulders they had placed on public property.


Am I correct that these places are public, and if so, what will be done to keep access for the public? Mahalo.

A: There are many privately owned parcels along Palauea Beach. Some of these were undeveloped for years, making it appear as if there was open access to the beach from several areas along Mākena Road, though such access was probably technically trespassing.

If the “Keep Out” boulders are situated on private property, then they are lawful. The county owns two adjacent parcels at Palauea Beach, which would be the most appropriate and lawful way to access the beach.

In terms of the boulders on the mauka side of Mākena Road that prohibit parking, county staff will inspect the boulders and if they are in our right-of-way, take appropriate action.


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