Report Title:

Coastal Areas; Public Access



Requires maintenance of public beach accesses by adjacent landowners and imposes penalties for noncompliance.  Establishes shoreline access as an objective of the coastal zone management program.  Requires the department of land and natural resources to provide written notice to property owners affected by this Act.



S.B. NO.














relating to coastal Areas.





SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that there are many shoreline areas throughout the State where the overgrowth of vegetation inhibits access to and transit along the beach, thereby denying the public of use and enjoyment of the public domain.  The area seaward of the shoreline is part of the conservation district and regulating uses of the conservation district is the responsibility of the department of land and natural resources.  Although there exists natural vegetative overgrowth along beach areas, there is also evidence in many areas of induced vegetative overgrowth into the beach area by private property owners.  The department does not have the funding to remove this vegetative overgrowth, nor should it have the financial responsibility to do so.

The legislature finds that public beach corridors are similar to public sidewalks in the sense that they are for public use.  In order to maintain public transit along the shoreline, provisions similar to those pertaining to the maintenance of sidewalks are needed.  For example, chapter 14, article 20, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, requires property owners to maintain adjacent sidewalks.  If the sidewalk is not maintained, a property owner may be cited and given a certain amount of time to clean up the sidewalk.  If the sidewalk is not cleaned, the city and county of Honolulu may clean the sidewalk and seek reimbursement from the property owner.

The legislature finds that a similar provision to protect public transit corridors along shorelines in the conservation district would have the benefit of encouraging property owners to keep adjacent beachfront free of encroaching vegetation and would provide a means to reimburse government agencies for removing vegetation if necessary.

     SECTION 2.  Chapter 183C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"§183C-     Notice to property owners.  The department shall provide written notice of amendments to this chapter and to administrative rules adopted pursuant to this chapter to property owners that may be directly affected by those amendments by mailing notice to the property owner's last known address in the State or to the property owner's agent at the property owner's last known address."

     SECTION 3.  Section 115-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

     "[[]§115-5[]]  Transit area and public transit corridor defined.  (a) The right of transit along the shoreline exists [below the private property line which is defined as being along the upper reaches of the wash of waves, usually evidenced by the edge of vegetation or by the debris left by the wash of waves.] seaward of the highest wash of the highest wave during the season of high surf.

     [However, in areas of cliffs or areas where the nature of the topography is such that there is no reasonably safe transit for the public along the shoreline below the private property lines, the counties by condemnation shall establish along the makai boundaries of the property lines public transit corridors which shall be not less than six feet wide.]

     (b)  In areas where the shoreline vegetation is human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained such that there is no reasonably safe transit for the public along the shoreline, the counties and the State may require maintenance of public transit corridors by the adjacent landowner, by means of the removal of the impeding vegetation."

     SECTION 4.  Section 115-9, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

     "[[]§115-9[]]  Obstructing access to public property; penalty.  (a)  A person commits the offense of obstructing access to public property if the person, by action or by having installed a physical impediment, intentionally prevents a member of the public from traversing:

     (1)  A public right-of-way;

     (2)  A transit area; [or]

     (3)  A public transit corridor; or

     (4)  Along the shoreline;

and thereby obstructs access to and along the sea, the shoreline, or any inland public recreational area.

     (b)  Physical impediments that may prevent traversing include but are not limited to the following:

     (1)  Gates;

     (2)  Fences;

     (3)  Walls;

     (4)  Constructed barriers;

     (5)  Rubbish;

     (6)  Security guards; [and]

     (7)  Guard dogs or animals[.]; and

     (8)  Human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation.

     (c)  Obstructing access to public property is a misdemeanor.  If any landowner, after receiving notice from the applicable county or the State, fails to remove an obstruction, the county or State may remove the obstruction as may be necessary to allow public access.  The cost for removal by the county or State shall be charged to and against the landowner, and if not paid immediately, shall be collected from the landowner or the landowner's agent by action in the district court.

     (d)  [Minimum] In addition to the cost of removal of an obstruction pursuant to subsection (c), the minimum fines for violation under this section shall be as follows:

     (1)  $1,000 for a second conviction; and

     (2)  $2,000 for any conviction after a second conviction.

     (e)  As used in this section:

     "Landowner" means the record owner of the property or the record owner's agent, including a lessee, tenant, property manager, or trustee.

     "Person" means a natural person or a legal entity.

     "Public recreational area" means public lands or bodies of water opened to the public for recreational use."

     SECTION 5.  Section 183C-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

     "[[]§183C-3[]]  Powers and duties of the board and department.  The board and department shall:

     (1)  Maintain an accurate inventory of lands classified within the state conservation district by the state land use commission, pursuant to chapter 205;

     (2)  Identify and appropriately zone those lands classified within the conservation district;

     (3)  Maintain shoreline public transit in the conservation district along beach corridors by providing ongoing maintenance and requiring private property owners to ensure that beaches abutting or adjoining their lands are kept passable and free from human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation that blocks transit;

    [(3)] (4)  Adopt rules, in compliance with chapter 91 which shall have the force and effect of law;

    [(4)] (5)  Set, charge, and collect reasonable fees in an amount sufficient to defray the cost of processing applications for zoning, use, and subdivision of conservation lands[;] and for maintenance to clear human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation, as necessary;

    [(5)] (6)  Establish categories of uses or activities on conservation lands, including allowable uses or activities for which no permit shall be required;

    [(6)] (7)  Establish restrictions, requirements, and conditions consistent with the standards set forth in this chapter on the use of conservation lands; and

    [(7)] (8)  Establish and enforce land use regulations on conservation district lands, including the collection of fines for violations of land use [and], terms and conditions of permits issued by the department[.], and collection of reimbursements from private property owners for clearing human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation necessary to provide free and clear public transit along beach corridors."

    SECTION 6.  Section 205A-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsections (b) and (c) to read as follows:

     "(b)  Objectives.

     (1)  Recreational resources;

         (A)  Provide coastal recreational opportunities accessible to the public[.]; and

         (B)  Provide and maintain coastal recreational access to and along the shoreline for public use.

     (2)  Historic resources;

         (A)  Protect, preserve, and, where desirable, restore those natural and manmade historic and prehistoric resources in the coastal zone management area that are significant in Hawaiian and American history and culture.

     (3)  Scenic and open space resources;

         (A)  Protect, preserve, and, where desirable, restore or improve the quality of coastal scenic and open space resources.

     (4)  Coastal ecosystems;

         (A)  Protect valuable coastal ecosystems, including reefs, from disruption and minimize adverse impacts on all coastal ecosystems.

     (5)  Economic uses;

         (A)  Provide public or private facilities and improvements important to the State's economy in suitable locations.

     (6)  Coastal hazards;

         (A)  Reduce hazard to life and property from tsunami, storm waves, stream flooding, erosion, subsidence, and pollution.

     (7)  Managing development;

         (A)  Improve the development review process, communication, and public participation in the management of coastal resources and hazards.

     (8)  Public participation;

         (A)  Stimulate public awareness, education, and participation in coastal management.

     (9)  Beach protection;

         (A)  Protect beaches for public use and recreation[.]; and

         (B)  Protect and maintain access to and along the shoreline for public use and recreation.

    (10)  Marine resources;

         (A)  Promote the protection, use, and development of marine and coastal resources to assure their sustainability.

     (c)  Policies.

     (1)  Recreational resources;

         (A)  Improve coordination and funding of coastal recreational planning and management; and

         (B)  Provide adequate, accessible, and diverse recreational opportunities in the coastal zone management area by:

              (i)  Protecting coastal resources uniquely suited for recreational activities that cannot be provided in other areas;

             (ii)  Requiring replacement of coastal resources having significant recreational value including, but not limited to, surfing sites, fishponds, and sand beaches, when such resources will be unavoidably damaged by development; or requiring reasonable monetary compensation to the State for recreation when replacement is not feasible or desirable;

            (iii)  Providing and managing adequate public access, consistent with conservation of natural resources, to and along shorelines with recreational value;

             (iv)  Providing an adequate supply of shoreline parks and other recreational facilities suitable for public recreation;

              (v)  Ensuring public recreational uses of county, state, and federally owned or controlled shoreline lands and waters having recreational value consistent with public safety standards and conservation of natural resources;

             (vi)  Adopting water quality standards and regulating point and nonpoint sources of pollution to protect, and where feasible, restore the recreational value of coastal waters;

            (vii)  Developing new shoreline recreational opportunities, where appropriate, such as artificial lagoons, artificial beaches, and artificial reefs for surfing and fishing; and

           (viii)  Encouraging reasonable dedication of shoreline areas with recreational value for public use as part of discretionary approvals or permits by the land use commission, board of land and natural resources, and county authorities; and crediting such dedication against the requirements of section 46-6.

     (2)  Historic resources;

         (A)  Identify and analyze significant archaeological resources;

           (B)  Maximize information retention through preservation of remains and artifacts or salvage operations; and

         (C)  Support state goals for protection, restoration, interpretation, and display of historic resources.

     (3)  Scenic and open space resources;

         (A)  Identify valued scenic resources in the coastal zone management area;

         (B)  Ensure that new developments are compatible with their visual environment by designing and locating such developments to minimize the alteration of natural landforms and existing public views to and along the shoreline;

         (C)  Preserve, maintain, and, where desirable, improve and restore shoreline open space and scenic resources; and

         (D)  Encourage those developments that are not coastal dependent to locate in inland areas.

     (4)  Coastal ecosystems;

         (A)  Exercise an overall conservation ethic, and practice stewardship in the protection, use, and development of marine and coastal resources;

         (B)  Improve the technical basis for natural resource management;

           (C)  Preserve valuable coastal ecosystems, including reefs, of significant biological or economic importance;

           (D)  Minimize disruption or degradation of coastal water ecosystems by effective regulation of stream diversions, channelization, and similar land and water uses, recognizing competing water needs; and

           (E)  Promote water quantity and quality planning and management practices that reflect the tolerance of fresh water and marine ecosystems and maintain and enhance water quality through the development and implementation of point and nonpoint source water pollution control measures.

     (5)  Economic uses;

         (A)  Concentrate coastal dependent development in appropriate areas;

           (B)  Ensure that coastal dependent development such as harbors and ports, and coastal related development such as visitor industry facilities and energy generating facilities, are located, designed, and constructed to minimize adverse social, visual, and environmental impacts in the coastal zone management area; and

           (C)  Direct the location and expansion of coastal dependent developments to areas presently designated and used for such developments and permit reasonable long-term growth at such areas, and permit coastal dependent development outside of presently designated areas when:

              (i)  Use of presently designated locations is not feasible;

               (ii)  Adverse environmental effects are minimized; and

            (iii)  The development is important to the State's economy.

     (6)  Coastal hazards;

         (A)  Develop and communicate adequate information about storm wave, tsunami, flood, erosion, subsidence, and point and nonpoint source pollution hazards;

         (B)  Control development in areas subject to storm wave, tsunami, flood, erosion, hurricane, wind, subsidence, and point and nonpoint source pollution hazards;

           (C)  Ensure that developments comply with requirements of the Federal Flood Insurance Program; and

           (D)  Prevent coastal flooding from inland projects.

     (7)  Managing development;

         (A)  Use, implement, and enforce existing law effectively to the maximum extent possible in managing present and future coastal zone development;

         (B)  Facilitate timely processing of applications for development permits and resolve overlapping or conflicting permit requirements; and

         (C)  Communicate the potential short and long-term impacts of proposed significant coastal developments early in their life cycle and in terms understandable to the public to facilitate public participation in the planning and review process.

     (8)  Public participation;

         (A)  Promote public involvement in coastal zone management processes;

           (B)  Disseminate information on coastal management issues by means of educational materials, published reports, staff contact, and public workshops for persons and organizations concerned with coastal issues, developments, and government activities; and

           (C)  Organize workshops, policy dialogues, and site-specific mediations to respond to coastal issues and conflicts.

     (9)  Beach protection;

         (A)  Locate new structures inland from the shoreline setback to conserve open space, minimize interference with natural shoreline processes, and minimize loss of improvements due to erosion;

         (B)  Prohibit construction of private erosion-protection structures seaward of the shoreline, except when they result in improved aesthetic and engineering solutions to erosion at the sites and do not interfere with existing recreational and waterline activities; [and]

         (C)  Minimize the construction of public erosion-protection structures seaward of the shoreline[.]; and

         (D)  Prohibit human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation seaward of the shoreline where it impacts lateral access or beach processes.

    (10)  Marine resources;

         (A)  Ensure that the use and development of marine and coastal resources are ecologically and environmentally sound and economically beneficial;

         (B)  Coordinate the management of marine and coastal resources and activities to improve effectiveness and efficiency;

         (C)  Assert and articulate the interests of the State as a partner with federal agencies in the sound management of ocean resources within the United States exclusive economic zone;

         (D)  Promote research, study, and understanding of ocean processes, marine life, and other ocean resources in order to acquire and inventory information necessary to understand how ocean development activities relate to and impact upon ocean and coastal resources; and

         (E)  Encourage research and development of new, innovative technologies for exploring, using, or protecting marine and coastal resources."

SECTION 7.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 8.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.