DLNR looking into possible violations at Waipake Beach

LIHUE — A possible violation of state law is being investigated at Waipake Beach.

Tennessee visitors Terry and Jim, who declined to provide their last name, said they were at Waipake Beach at around 2 p.m. Wednesday, when they witnessed a bulldozer clear several heliotrope trees and naupaka plants.

A site visit Thursday morning revealed fresh tractor tracks visible over the sand. The standing trees had branches cut off, tree trunk stubs were sticking out the ground and it appeared much of the naupaka had been cleared.

Developer Falko Partners owns a 357-acre agricultural parcel above Waipake Beach, which was approved for a subdivision eight years ago, and will eventually allow 80 homesites to be developed there.

About 25 acres of land immediately adjacent to Waipake Beach are zoned state conservation lands, according to maps at the county Real Property Tax Division.

Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said they sent a staff member to Waipake Monday to investigate the issue, and would notify The Garden Island later of any violation regarding the trees.

“If there is any violation, we will bring it to the land board,” said Ward, referring to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, of which Shawn Smith, of Falko Partners, is Kauai’s representative.

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