Saturday, November 26, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, September 21, 2022
DLNR: N Shore Homeowners are Doomed, They Should Just Accept It
By News Release @ 10:35 PM :: 1286 Views :: Honolulu County, Development, Land Use

NO GOOD OPTIONS FOR HOMEOWNERS & THE PUBLIC ON O‘AHU’S NORTH SHORE

Office of Conservation & Coastal Lands Seeking Solutions to Ongoing Crisis

News Release from DLNR, Sept. 21, 2022

(HONOLULU) – The plight of public beaches and twenty homes on dunes above, in the Paumalu ahupua‘a on the north shore of O‘ahu, has consumed Michael Cain and his staff.

This year, after seventeen years with DLNR, Cain was appointed administrator of the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL). He and his team continue to grapple with what to do about coastal homes with expired, temporary emergency State permits to “shore” up the land under their foundations to stop the forces of erosion from toppling them onto the beach and into the ocean. All the homes at Paumalu border public beaches within a State Conservation District.

“Earlier this month, utilizing a drone, we surveyed the area, and it revealed unpermitted shoreline hardening work continuing at a number of properties, in violation of Conservation District rules,” Cain explained. “This survey shows the enormous scale of the situation we face as regulators, and the desperate and illegal measures some homeowners continue to employ.”

Aerial photography shows some homes teetering on sandy soil just above the beach. Large, sand-filled tubes litter the beach below. Equally large fabric curtains drape the slopes in front of some structures, all the way down to what remains of the public beach. “It’s a real mess and the photographs clearly show it,” Cain says.

“Allowing these structures (erosion control devices) to remain endangers the public beach, limits access to them for much of the year, and is littering the near-shore marine and shoreline environment with debris. They are supposed to be temporary, to give the landowners time to plan for moving their houses and cesspools, which few have done. There could be even greater environmental catastrophe if houses and their cesspools start falling into the ocean. This is a complicated and difficult situation to resolve,” Cain added.

The drone survey led to the creation of a document that details the permit history of each home, outlines the expired erosion control methods still in place, and any past or current enforcement actions. “The current system of bringing enforcement actions to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, working our way through the process for contested cases requested by landowners on alleged violations, and then following up when cases are appealed in court, is slow and inefficient. Unfortunately, this process is the only enforcement tool OCCL currently has available,” Cain explained. 

Shorelines are naturally dynamic. Most of our beaches are experiencing chronic erosion. The natural, seasonal cycle of beach widening and narrowing adds to the long-term beach loss. Historically shoreline hardening such as seawalls was the solution to protect homes, but coastal experts now know it destroys beaches. OCCL estimates that more than thirteen miles of beaches have already been lost in Hawai‘i due to erosion and seawalls.

“Many of the structures captured in our drone footage were given emergency permits, allowing landowners to place sandbag tubes on public land to temporarily protect their properties while the landowners worked on a long-term solution for protecting or moving their property,” Cain remarked. “We allege that none of the permit holders at Paumalu have complied with all the conditions of their permits. Their permits have expired, and the sandbag structures have become de facto seawalls that are putting the future of the beach at risk.”

OCCL notes that allowing the erosion control structures to remain creates an unmanaged hazardous situation that endangers public trust resources. Resolving the crisis will take a coordinated effort between all branches of the State and the counties. 

Cain concluded, “We’re actively working with county planning departments and State legislators to try and identify solutions. We’re not alone. Coastal communities across the world are facing similar situations.  We talk about “retreat,” but no one has successfully implemented retreat in a densely populated area like we have with little room to move inland.  We don’t have many role models to follow, and Hawai‘i is going to have to take the lead in finding solutions.”

# # #

RESOURCES

(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)

HD video Puamalu shoreline erosion, aerials and SOTs (Sept. 21, 2022)

Photographs – Puamalu aerials from drone survey (Sept. 7, 2022)

HNN: ‘We need to retreat’: North Shore homeowners violating state rules to save properties, DLNR says

SA: Illegal structures still erected on Oahu’s North Shore

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life 

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT