LIHU‘E — To address overcrowding at beach parks, the County Council has offered a bill authorizing the county Department of Parks and Recreation to initiate a study to potentially institute a county-beach-park parking-fee structure.
Bill 2805, which passed unanimously on passed on second and final reading and is now an ordinance, allows the department to impose parking fees on non-residents, and directs the department to conduct a study to determine those rates. The department will be facilitating the feasibility study but would need to go back to the council for further approval to enact any such program.
The bill was introduced by Councilmembers Mason Chock and Luke Evslin in October.
“I think our rationale was so that when they do the study it is done with clear legislative intent, that our intent here as a body is to charge visitors for parking and not to charge residents,” Evslin said in October.
“The future study is looking at, and the study is needed to develop, a nexus for the fees, so that is why we are doing it both at once.”
Chock said this study may also encompass the effects of traffic, rental cars, parking and the establishment of shuttles. The bill specifies that the study includes traffic counts and the documentation of safety and traffic concerns. The bill states that rental cars shall be subject to the charge. Part of the study would be to identify parks and possibly go forward with pilot projects.
“We have already experienced that (overcrowding) in certain areas of the island, so I think this initiates that discussion about no-parking zones as well,” Chock said when the bill was introduced.
Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Wally Rezentes said the goal is to figure out what to do internally as a department.
“There is no one solution, but there are alternatives that we definitely could look at to see what would fit for Kaua‘i,” he said. “What we do not want to do is implement something that is going to cost more to run than what we bring in, so we need to make sure we have some business sense as to whatever solution we decide.”
The bill stipulates that any fees derived be added to the Special Trust Fund for Parks and Playgrounds and stay in the “respective district in which such fees were generated,” the bill states. Violating the parking fees would come with a $100 first-offense fine. Upwards of two offenses would result in a fine up to $500.
“One of our first drafts was five pages long and much more comprehensive,” Evslin said. “It kind of laid out the specific program for how they would be charging, and how to identify rental cars versus residents, etc. We ended up eliminating all of that, thinking it was better to give DOPR as much flexibility as possible to determine how to do this on their own.”
Correction: Due to an editing error, this article was updated at 6:12 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23 to correct that Bill. 2805, Draft 1 was passed on passed on second and final reading on Dec. 16. It passed on first reading in October.