Are Kealia rest areas legal?

Whether the county will have to remove six unpermitted rest areas along the Kealia coastline will depend on whether they are within or outside the county’s 40-foot shoreline setback.

The matter came up during a Kaua‘i County Council committee meeting at the historic County Building Wednesday.

At stake is whether the improvements remain or are removed.

The structures are part of the second phase of the county’s proposed 17-plus-mile from Nawiliwili Harbor to Anahola. The project proposed by Mayor Bryan Baptiste could become Hawai‘i’s first recreational coastline pathway if completed.

Councilman Jay Furfaro said he would recommend the county planning commission amend a Special Management Area Use permit to include the six rest areas with nine other government-approved pavilions within the same project.

All the structures are located within a 4.3-mile leg of the coastal pathway project, which Jas W. Glover is developing mostly with federal funds.

Part of the issue is whether the contractor relied on a current state certified shoreline in placing the six rest areas, officials said at the council committee meeting.

A problem will arise if any of the pavilions are within a 40-foot county setback.

Baptiste said the planning commission has the final say on whether to grant the permits and would welcome comments from the council before any decision is made.

Councilmember Mel Rapozo has said the structures are illegal because they are aren’t permitted at this time, and, therefore, need to be taken down.

Rapozo has said it would be hypocritical for the council not to ask for the removal of the structures in light of the council’s passage of a resolution in August establishing “zero tolerance” for unpermitted structures within the county’s SMA area — the area above the beach areas governed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resource.

Councilwoman Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, who fielded complaints about unpermitted structures, aggressively lobbied for the passage of that measure.

But county engineer Donald Fujimoto said the contractor decide to install roofs on the six rest areas when plans called only for the planting of trees by the structures to provide shade for beachgoers.

Public Works spokesman Doug Haigh also has said his department never asked the planning department whether the rest areas posed an issue or challenge prior to the issuance of building permits.

• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or


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