On October 8, 2021, the Board of Land and Natural Resources deferred ruling on the ability for private company Ruby & Sons Hospitality to lease the public parking area at Keawakapu in Kihei. The company has been accused of harassing residents and fishermen, while also removing public parking signs. The BLNR’s decision was especially influenced by state Department of Land and Natural Resources Land Division Administrator Russell Tsuji, who spoke about Maui County’s interest in possibly obtaining an adjacent parcel to the current parking lot.
Public beach access is a key component of Surfrider Foundation’s mission. The lack of adequate, free public parking furthermore severely threatens public shoreline access. The Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter strongly supports Maui County managing the public parking at Keawakapu Beach and encourages the County to pursue management and maintenance of the parcel.
Please take a few moments to email the Mayor’s Office (email@example.com) and express your support for the County of Maui managing the Keawakapu parking lot.
Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter Letter Supporting Keawakapu Beach Parking
Dear Mayor Victorino,
Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapters support the County of Maui taking over the Keawakapu beach access parking lot and encourage you to follow through with this offer. We believe the County’s efforts to pursue management and maintenance of the Keawakapu Beach parking lot (Parcel 149) is the best interest of the public. The County can protect our public beach access parking and also accommodate necessary hotel parking in balance, once again. Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter supports maintaining and where possible expanding beach access parking, and removing impediments. Access to 24 hour, free beach parking of at least 51 spaces to serve Keawakapu Beach should remain in public ownership and direct public control. As we know, without adequate public parking, shoreline access is severely threatened. Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter further supports comprehensive planning to expand public access to the shoreline in South Maui. Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter, dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches for all people, provides the following comment in regard to the proposal for the Lease of Public Lands; Kamaole, Wailuku, Maui, Tax Map Keys: (2) 3-9-004:149 under consideration by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.
At its October 8, 2021 meeting the BLNR deferred action on a proposal by Ruby & Sons Hospitality, LLC to lease the parking lot on state land near the Days Inn by Wyndham Maui Oceanfront and near Keawakapu Beach. Under an Amended Settlement Agreement this parking lot is required to provide 51 free public beach parking spaces available 24 hours per day.
The lease and management of 24 hour, free public beach parking by a private entity in conjunction with their development creates the potential for conflict. Such conflict has already been documented in public testimony. A burden on the general public is created to ‘police’ and seek enforcement of its rights to the parking resource when infringed upon by the private entity. As development in the area increases, and parking demands increase, it is in the public interest to be forward thinking.
The County had expressed interest in a long-term lease for this parcel but did not follow through with subsequent required submittals per DLNR documents. On October 18, 2021 DLNR Land Division Administrator Russell Tsuji indicated Maui County’s interest in possibly obtaining an adjacent parcel to the current parking lot and deferred consideration.