When the Honolulu City Council approved Bill 5 banning all commercial activity at Kailua and Kalama beach parks from 1 p.m. Saturdays until 6:30 a.m. Mondays, it also defined what constitutes a commercial activity at all city parks.
However, the new definition also triggered the state's environmental review process, which means any commercial activity or event at a city park must undergo an environmental assessment.
"All those activities we have been doing for years and years and years that did not go through this environmental process under the law, is going to be subject to this," said Gary Cabato, the city's Parks and Recreation director.
If an environmental assessment finds potential impacts to city parks, then a full-blown environmental impact statement could be required, which could take a year or longer.
Cabato told KITV4 he's researching whether the city can perform a blanket environmental assessment that would cover for-profit events and activities at all city parks across Oahu.
"I have to work with Budget and Finance to make sure that the specs are written as such, (and) I have to work with Department of Design and Construction, who's going to actually get the consultant to do that EA," said Cabato.
The Triple Crown of Surfing and the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf contests both utilize city beach parks and have a tremendous impact on traffic along Kamehameha Highway.
But, because both surf contests are issued city permits through nonprofit organizations, both would be exempt from the environmental assessment process.
"So as I speak, there's a lot of ways you can look at this and find different loopholes," Cabato told Council members during a hearing Wednesday.
The Parks and Recreation director expects to issue a public notice about the new environmental mandate for city parks in the next few weeks.
"I am moving island-wide to let people know, put them on notice, that certain commercial activities cannot be conducted in a park," said Cabato. "Then, it becomes an enforcement problem that I have to work with the Honolulu Police Department."