MOLOA’A BAY — Long-time Moloa’a resident Charlie Pereira wakes up every morning looking at something he says makes him bristle: 10 or more “no parking” signs posted at the end of Moloa’a Road.
Pereira, 76, says the signs prevent Hawaiians, residents and visitors from having easy access to Moloa’a Bay, one of the most desirable bays on Kaua’i, due to its relative remoteness.
“For Hawaiians, we are talking about something that stops them from practicing their gathering rights,” said his wife, Loke Pereira, who is part-Hawaiian. “Something’s wrong here.”
The bay is reputed to have been the summer home of ali’i in ancient times.
In the five years or more the signs have been up, longtime fishermen have been verbally threatened by some property owners for having parked near the signs, or the zone with the signs, Pereira said.
The couple say they are elderly, but pledge to mount a drive to get county officials to remove the signs.
Charlie Pereira said he has gotten in touch with Kaua’i County Councilman Mel Rapozo to introduce legislation to make the change.
“He came here. He was interested,” Pereira told The Garden Island in an interview.
Rapozo wasn’t immediately available for comment on Monday.
County leaders, however, felt compelled to have the signs put up to allow emergency vehicles and fire trucks to get to homes located at the end of the road.
The road ends where Moloa’a Stream enters the ocean, and is one of perhaps three public accesses to the beach.
The area of contention with Pereira offers the most direct route to the beach.
Pereira says the road section with the emergency signs is only 18 feet wide, 2 feet narrower than what is required for an emergency road and the posting of the no-parking signs.
“For an emergency road to be created, the road should be 20 feet,” Pereira said. “And it isn’t.”
Pereira contended the no-parking signs were put up at the request of some property owners who “wanted a private road” by their homes.
Some owners had requested the signs be put up because their properties weren’t large enough to allow them to back their vehicles onto Moloa’a Road.
The parking of vehicles belonging to visitors or fishermen made their parking situation worse, the owners told government officials in the past.
The Pereiras also said they and other neighbors were not properly notified of government meetings to consider the placing of the signs before they were put up.
“My wife and I weren’t told about the council meeting to make the emergency road,” Charlie Pereira said. “The 10 no-parking signs should be removed.”
Loke Pereira said the posting of the signs without being told in advance left her wondering whether government “was working for the people.”
“People wanting changes should have the courtesy to tell others,” she said.
Government officials are, however, obligated by the state Sunshine Law, to publicize the meetings well in advance of the day they are held.
Pereira said he isn’t normally one to complain about the actions of government, but the 20-year Army veteran and Korean War veteran says “it’s my right.”
The inability for visitors to easily access the bay also rankles him, Pereira said.
“When people harass the visitors, it bothers me a lot,” said Pereira, a Coco Palms Hotel employee from 1977 to 2001.
The Pereiras contend the no-parking zone is not necessary, as emergencies rarely occur.
A fire started in a house in the past year, but the incident occurred farther mauka of the area where the “no parking”signs are located, Loke Pereira said.
Charlie Pereira said parking was never a problem by the entrance to the bay in the past.
Because residents and visitors parked their vehicles on the mauka side of road, but left enough room, out of recognition of a possible emergency, for emergency vehicles to pass, Pereira said.
Pereira said he helped out the parking situation by allowing people to park in a small vacant lot by the zone with the signs.
Pereira said the Thronas family of Kaua’i allows him to use the land, and in return, he maintains it.
And when fishermen can’t find parking close enough to the bay’s entrance, Pereira said he allows them to park on his property while they fish in the bay.
“We don’t need the signs. Common sense. And aloha,” Pereira said. “That is what we need here.”
- Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and lchang@ kauaipubco.com