Hawaii association seeks to reduce tourists in subdivision

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A Hawaii residential association is exploring ways to curb tourist access to a subdivision that lost numerous homes to a volcanic eruption, a report said.

The Leilani Estates Community Association wants to reduce visitors who come to see lava and a fissure from the 2018 Kilauea eruption, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday.

An influx of tour groups has led to crowding on streets in the Big Island subdivision, said association President Andy Andrews.

Tourists often park on roads on which residents are not allowed to park and climb the lava flows in lower Puna to reach the top of fissure 8, Andrews said.

Occasional “shouting matches” have broken out between residents and tourists, Andrews said.

“Some (residents) aren’t bothered by it, but others are very bothered,” Andrews said.

Residents have used signs restricting access while homeowners remain split over a proposal to erect a gate and privatize two entrance roads, which could cost between $60,000 and $100,000.

A committee will consider plans including potentially seeking federal funds or working directly with tour companies, Andrews said.

The tourism issue only impacts residents who live close to the lava and could be mitigated through a coherent tourism plan by the community association, resident Cheryl Carroll said.

Working with Hawaii County officials and tour companies is preferable because it would allow the community to remain open to the island at large, she said.

“There’s a conflict here between the mainland concept of property’s monetary value and the ohana (family),” Carroll said.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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