Waipouli residents against acquisition of land for path

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A couple enjoys the informal path through the Islander on the Beach property Friday morning in Waipouli. At left is the sign designating the property line, while a sign on the right cautions path-users to be on the lookout for shearwater seabirds.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A seabird-awareness sign is at the intersection where the beach access meets the informal path along the Lae Nani Resort property in Wailua.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A couple enjoys the informal path fronting the Kaua‘i Coast Resort at the Beachboy in Waipouli Friday morning.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Coastal erosion is occurring along the grassy area at the Kaua‘i Coast Resort at the Beachboy in Waipouli.

WAIPOULI — Coastal erosion, disrupting shearwater seabirds and a waste of taxpayer dollars are reasons cited for resident protest against possible action by the county to acquire private land for the bike and pedestrian path, Ke Ala Hele Makalae.

As of late, the county is looking at taking over Islander on the Beach land by eminent domain for a price tag of $24,300. The land would be included in a third phase of the construction of the Eastside coastal path.

The path easement would come down the west side of the Waipouli property and cross east in front of the beach, toward the Kaua‘i Coast Resort at the Beachboy.

The Islander on the Beach board of directors does not have the authority to sign easement documents because it requires signatures of all unit owners, but has signaled in favor of the county action, according to a memo to the Kaua‘i County Council from county Department of Public Works Acting County Engineer Troy Tanigawa.

The unpaved land is already traversed by the public, but the call to take over the land to put in a proposed, 12-foot wide concrete path is now the decision of the county. The council will vote whether to do this through a resolution at its meeting on April 21.

Speaking to the council last Wednesday, Islander on the Beach resident Rick Powers got together with several other residents to provide public testimony from a balcony on the property.

One by one, these residents expressed concern for the dilapidation of the current path, how close the Islander property is to ongoing coastal erosion due to being grandfathered into shoreline setback requirements, and the safety of residents and path users.

Just up the road, portions of the path along the Wailua corridor are in trouble, as coastal erosion eats underneath it. The shoreline in this area has seen expedited erosion since 2019. According to the state’s Seat Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaption Report, one foot of sea-level rise would compromise this proposed path.

“Looking at what was lost south, at the Wailua Beach and Coco Palms Resort, one would be prudent to relocate to another, easily-more-feasible location, of which there are others nearby with easier and less-costly access of construction,” Gary Lamouria said in written testimony to the council.

“It would seem a folly to put the path in harm’s way of the relentless wave action and often-enough storms, and there is the matter of rising ocean levels because of global warming,” he wrote.

Then there’s the native habitat.

Mary Ransbury, a volunteer with Save our Shores, said the path would disrupt nesting shearwaters. Ransbury said that, in recent history, the birds have returned after leaving that particular area years ago.

In several spots in this area are signs asking visitors to be cautious of nesting birds. Should the easement go through and the path created, these areas would be a few feet off the path.

Powers recommended the council reroute the path more inland, possibly through a commercial area.

“(There) is a much-more-practical alternative path that leaves the shoreline as is and routes the bicycle path through the Coconut Marketplace, a commercial center that is desperate for business after this brutal pandemic,” he said.

Powers extended an invitation to councilmembers as well as other elected officials and decision-makers to envision just how the path will affect the shoreline: “Please come here and look.”

Clarification: This story was updated Monday, April 12 to clarify that Mary Ransbury is a volunteer with Save our Shores, not Save our Shearwaters.


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Hirondelle April 11, 2021 5:53 am Reply

    What’s that saying about “doing the same thing, in the same way, and expecting a different outcome”? Madness.

  2. Imua44 April 11, 2021 6:55 am Reply

    Of course owners do not want a public right of way in front of their property. ALL beach access should be taken by the County.
    Beaxh access will be forever. This is a chance to get it.

    1. Mark Lindsey April 11, 2021 3:34 pm Reply

      Access to the ocean should be a necessity for all residents. Kanaka maoli have unalienable rights to makai and mauka locations. The Waipouli condos are part of the desecration of our sacred land. Should never have been built! Build the path for the people, you can always relocate back to Kansas Dorothy

    2. wat April 11, 2021 8:54 pm Reply

      There already is beach access… the issue is ownership of the land to build the path.

  3. Des April 11, 2021 8:17 am Reply

    Ah, NIMBYs. Obviously, they should be told the public good is more important than their desire to not have “low-class” bicyclists and walkers going by their condos. C’mon folks, 372 square feet! Not even that nice! Are you afraid it’s going to impact your Air B&B business?

    Hopefully, the Council will stand up for the island.

  4. Paka April 11, 2021 9:02 am Reply

    This has nothing to do with public right of way . There already is a public path at this location and it is used by residents and visitors alike . What this does have everything to do with is public safety and protecting a very fragile shoreline ecosystem. FYI if this route is
    chosen as opposed to the safer ” coconut crossings ” route the County will be placing
    those crossing the path at right angles to bicycle traffic unnecessarily in harm’s way. A law suit in that regard could cost the county millions.

    I pay enough in taxes already !

  5. Concerned citizen April 11, 2021 10:03 am Reply

    Take away their Mahalo Rewards cards if they don’t sign.

  6. Uncleaina April 11, 2021 10:33 am Reply

    They don’t want the county to build a path; they just want them to preserve the shoreline for the condo owners at all costs. Am I missing something?

  7. John Sedeski April 11, 2021 7:27 pm Reply

    This visitor sees a coordinated effort to create and modernize the commercial areas of Old Koloa town, Kilauea and Poipu with dozens and dozens of small boutique businesses. The new construction creates a very casual, relaxing, pedestrian friendly atmosphere.
    Seems an extended and unbroken ocean walk dovetails that theme.
    Enhanced with a few respite areas it becomes a destination point in and of itself.
    Think Newport Rhode Island’s 3 1/2 mile “Cliff Walk”.

    1. Kelly S April 12, 2021 11:21 pm Reply

      Please stop trying to turn Kauai into anyplace else…. take the ‘like Newport’, ‘like Nantucket’ and ‘like LA’ vibes home with you.
      – you sound like a developer shill

  8. Livealoha April 12, 2021 8:25 am Reply

    “Kauai residents against land acquisition for condo & vacation rental development”

    Long time Kauai residents were against the development of that area for the same exact reasons that they are now citing to prevent the path from being placed there. Condo-owners: how’s it feel having a taste of your own medicine?

  9. Craig Millett April 12, 2021 8:36 am Reply

    This path was a lost cause before it began. Every dime spent on it will be flushed by the Pacific Ocean and we will have bailed the resort out of its useless coastal land. Can we please stop flushing our tax dollars and start using them for our preparations for climate change?

  10. Doug April 12, 2021 9:21 am Reply

    The Shearwaters are only back because the tourists were gone. Give it a couple of weeks and they will be gone again. Same thing with the turtles and monk seals in other places. This is more about rich residents trying to block public beach access. As to the beach erosion, I’m sure the residents will be demanding that the County do something about that anyway in a few months.

  11. MisterM April 12, 2021 8:57 pm Reply

    Wake up people!

    The condo board WANTS the County to take the land – because then the County (ie, taxpayers) will forever more be required to prevent costly erosion. You can bet that the condo board will scream bloody murder when the inevitable happens and hapless County (taxpayers) will spend millions building a sea wall that would otherwise fall on the condo association’s head.

    The County has it’s head up its backside taking any soon-to-be-eroded beachfront land. Route the path inland and in a decade or two, it will be oceanfront.

  12. Mark April 13, 2021 3:00 am Reply

    Go to the site and see for yourselves, a 90 degree turn with walkers and bicycles will be a total nightmare forever. There will be lawsuit after lawsuit. Really bad planning.

  13. RGLadder37 April 13, 2021 12:59 pm Reply

    This bike path is on private property. Odd. This makes the land more secure. Why wouldn’t they want a paved walkway? It benefits the residences too. Does this acquisition of land require a zoning law to be looked at first? If so, what’s the law? And why the county to take lead? The owners are the ones affected. A land built on ag land is too technical. Pay up. But who? The owners. Nothing else then.

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