West Maui condo fined $100,000 for unpermitted structures

Unpermitted items include barbecue grills, a stairway, an eating area and a seawall

Owners of the Mahinahina Beach condominiums have agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to Maui County and to demolish unpermitted structures at the nearly 1.8-acre, 32-unit oceanfront complex in Honokowai.

The Maui Planning Commission voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve the settlement of violations dating back to 2015 for structures built without special management area and shoreline setback permits.

Department of Planning Director Will Spence said the violations accrued at a rate of $1,000 per day per violation. For the condo complex, its violations amounted to $2.3 million overall. Negotiations took the settlement amount down to $100,000, he said.

The unpermitted structures include barbecue grills; a stairway; a trellis; electrical lights, switches and wiring; an eating area; and a seawall. The agreement calls for demolition and restoration work at the four-building, two-story complex at 4007 Lower Honoapiilani Road.

The complex was built in 1979. It includes a pool, a spa and a beach area.

According to condos listed on an Island Sotheby’s International Realty website, recent fee-simple sales at the complex of one-bedroom, 859-square-foot condos have ranged from $595,000 to $799,000. A ground-floor, one-bedroom unit is listed for $849,000. A second-story, two-bedroom unit is for sale for $899,000, and a two-bedroom, two-bath unit with 1,159 square feet is seeking $1.27 million.

The commission took up the proposed Mahinahina Beach settlement during an April 25 meeting, but commissioners voted to defer the matter at that time to get more information.

At that meeting, two testifiers asked if the $100,000 in fines would be used for improved beach access and public parking, according to meeting minutes.

“There’s not enough beach accesses in the area from there north of Kaanapali, and this would greatly help out the community,” Randy Draper told commissioners.

He also suggested using the money to pay for enforcement of public parking in beach access areas.

Kai Nishiki said the area has been developed with more than 20 properties built in the 1970s that have seawalls and other obstacles to public access.

Aside from surf spots, including one called “Kuleanas,” there are areas for snorkeling, fishing and diving, she said.

“There’s also a number of spots where turtles go and rest, and people go and watch them and watch the sunset. So, it’s really . . . a great place for families for people who are fishermen to use this area.”

Attorney Jim Geiger represented the Mahinahina Beach condominium owners and told commissioners his clients were ready to remediate the violations.

“We have a plan,” he said. “We’re ready to go. . . . We have reached an understanding with the department as to all the remediation things. We’ve been ready to go forward and do that for over a year.”

Spence referred to testimony about beach access and said the settlement was “basically about structures and uses within the shoreline area that were not permitted.”

He said the Planning Department could, on behalf of the commission, ask the County Council to use the money for improved shoreline access.

“The council is in charge of the budget,” he said. “Receiving this money you can’t dictate. You can request how it’s spent. You can’t dictate how it’s spent.”

The money also could be added to the county’s open-space fund, he said.

In other action Tuesday, the commission approved a state Land Use Commission special permit for Angela Eliza Gonzalez-Troxel and Jon Keith Troxel to operate the Keokea Ranch Estate, a three-bedroom bed-and-breakfast business in the state agricultural district. The property is at 337 Kealakapu Road in Kula.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

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