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Committee OKs use of trail to beach

LIHUE — Kauai residents are a step closer to being able to legally access an area in Koloa to get to the shoreline.

On Wednesday, the Planning Committee unanimously approved a Grant of Pedestrian Access and Parking Easements, which was filed by CIRI Land Development in an effort to make sure public access is maintained.

The real estate company, which is building 10 single-family dwelling units fronting the beach in Weilweli, Koloa, near Pe’e Road, will allow Kauai residents to use a dirt trail to the beach.

If the grant is approved, the company will establish a 30-foot wide easement. The company will also build a seven-car public parking lot.

“We have an opportunity to preserve at least one area for future generations. We just have to keep making sure that as areas get developed, we preserve access and fishing areas,” said Councilman Ross Kagawa. “We cannot stop progress, but we can try our best and preserve access for the fishermen.”

Councilman Mason Chock said he appreciates the developer’s intentions to ensure public access.

“I have to gulp every time something like this comes up because I’m still quite upset I have to ask for access to use my resources,” he said.

The county will not be responsible for the upkeep of the trail or parking lot. Instead, that will be the responsibility of the people who buy the homes, said Jennifer Lim, attorney representing CIRI.

But Chock questioned how homeowners would be required to maintain the property and if the company will require maintenance fees.

There will be a homeowner’s association, which will require its members to maintain the easement, Lim said.

“They will have the obligation, under homeowner’s association rules, to keep the property in decent condition,” she said. “There will be assessed fees to contribute to the homeowner’s association. I don’t know what those fees will be. But I know maintenance to the trail area will be minimal because it’s not a constructed area.”

CIRI intends to keep the trail the way it is, she said.

After visiting the site, Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura suggested pouring concrete on the path, to make it accessible for everyone.

“You have a sidewalk going from the Hyatt all along the coast, all the way up to the Point at Poipu. When you look at it in its totality, to have that segment unpaved doesn’t make sense to me,” she said.

But Mel Rapozo, council chair, said paving it will invite more tourist traffic in the area.

“I don’t think the majority of the public will disagree with keeping that path natural. Certain places warrant a paved path,” he said. “This isn’t one of them.”

The Kauai County Council will discuss the grant again on March 22.

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