The Hawaii Supreme Court on Wednesday defined the boundary between public beach and private property.
The suit was brought against the state by a Kauai resident. The court agreed with her that the "public beach" is wherever the waves extend to.
"This is a huge, huge decision for Hawaii public rights and shoreline access and use," Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake said. "There has been a lot of controversy about land owners trying to irrigate vegetation, plant vegetation and reduce the width of the beach, and people have been scared to go on the vegetation even though the water goes way past because they think that's private property and the landowners get all huffy about it because they think that's their property. Well, the court decided once and for all that wherever the water goes, that's the public's beach."
The court's decision was a unanimous one. It reversed an earlier decision by a lower court that sided with the state.