Kauai County files suit to reopen public access to North Shore beach
The suit is against landowner, KAPHA North Shore LLC, which owns an approximately 21-acre stretch of Kilauea Gardens Subdivision, located on a oceanfront bluff overlooking Kauapea Beach.
Kauai County filed a lawsuit seeking public access to East Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach. The suit is against landowner, KAPHA North Shore LLC, which owns an approximately 21-acre stretch of Kilauea Gardens Subdivision, located on a oceanfront bluff overlooking Kauapea Beach.
"Historically, there had a been a trail through the property for the public to access the beach and a public access was a requirement when this land was subdivided," Kauai Deputy County Attorney, Adam Roversi said.
The county says the blocking of public access to Secret beach has a been a top concern for years. According to Roversi, sometime in the late 1990's a previous land owner blocked public access despite knowing community members used the trail for decades.
"There was public pressure on the county at many different times over the years to reopen the access and current administration finally had to political will to do something about it," Roversi said.
Roversi adds that the deed to the property states a public access once existed. He also says Kauai County had been in talks with KAPHA LLC since early 2017.
"At the start it looked like we were going to work things out," Roversi said. "And for whatever-- unknown reason to me-- they announced they simply weren't going to be able to cooperate."
Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho decided legal action was the next option. The suit was filed by Kauai Deputy County Attorney, Roversi on Friday, March 2, in circuit court.
“I applaud our county attorneys for their diligent work over the course of the last several years to hold the land owner accountable,” said Mayor Carvalho. “Ensuring all members of the community access to public spaces is our kuleana to honor the wishes of our kupuna and serve present and future generations.”
Kilauea Neighborhood Board is expected to speak about beach access for Kauapea at their meeting Tuesday, March 6th.
"I think its a vital for the community to be able to maintain, take care, and Malama our 'Aina.. to be able to get there, so it is vital to maintain those accesses," Kilauea Neighborhood Board president, Yoshi L'Hote added.
Roversi says once KAPHA LLC is served with the complaint they will have 20 days to file their response.