Kaanapali Alii gets tagged with notice of parking violation

Condominium resort fined $1,000 for not providing 24-hour public beach access spots

In what could be a first, Maui County issued a notice of violation to a Kaanapali resort recently for not providing free beach parking for the public 24 hours a day.

On Jan. 16, the Kaanapali Alii was informed that it was in violation of a condition of its special management area permit requirement to provide at least 10 public beach access parking spaces all day long, seven days a week. The permit was approved in 1979.

The Department of Planning’s Zoning Administration and Enforcement Division assessed a $1,000 fine on the resort, which is near the Whalers Village shopping complex.

An official at the Kaanapali Alii could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Department of Planning Deputy Director Michele Chouteau McLean said the Kaanapali Alii contested the notice of violation in late January, but it paid the fine on Tuesday.

McLean said that, to her knowledge and during her seven-year tenure at the Planning Department, this notice of violation could be the first of its kind for a violation of a public beach parking requirement at Kaanapali Beach.

More research would need to be done to determine if there were other violations issued in Kaanapali or if there have been other similar violations elsewhere in the county.

Napili resident and public beach parking advocate Randy Draper said he believes that this is the first time the county has enforced the beach access parking requirement in Kaanapali.

Draper was the complainant in the Kaanapali Alii case. He said that, on the night of Dec. 27, 2017, he went to the front desk asking for beach parking. He was told there was no beach parking after certain hours and that he could park at other hotels’ beach parking.

Draper said he hopes the Kaanapali Alii violation will send a message to other hotels and resort to provide public beach parking all day long.

In 2016, Draper’s complaints about a lack of public parking compliance at Kaanapali resorts led the Planning Department to research the amount of beach parking each resort committed to providing through the county permitting process. The county also made site inspections to ensure compliance.

At that time, all the inspected resorts were in compliance, although at times parking stalls were hard to find on property and signs for the beach parking were confusing. Resort managers were asked to monitor public parking to ensure stalls weren’t taken up by employees or vendors.

There are 196 public beach access stalls in the Kaanapali resort area off of Kaanapali Parkway and Nohea Kai Drive. Some resorts offer a few more stalls than required.

As for Kaanapali Alii, McLean said it was a one-time violation.

There’s video of a member of the public approaching the Kaanapali Alii front desk, asking for public beach parking after hours when the parking lot area was secured, McLean said. The person was told that the condominium did not provide beach parking after a certain time at night.

McLean said the Planning Department has allowed the Kaanapali Alii and a few other properties to close their beach parking lots at night for security purposes, but with the condition that alternative beach parking be readily available and that there be clear signage along with immediate access to the parking.

Kaanapali Operations Association President and General Manager Wayne Hedani said the association does not have a policy on beach parking; operators have their own policies.

But Hedani said that, personally, he has always been able to find beach parking at the resorts.

When the resorts comply and provide the parking, no one is responsible to oversee the parking, and the county doesn’t have the means to monitor it regularly, he said.

At times, the resorts have problems with vandalism, loitering or even fighting on or near hotel properties, especially at night or during early-morning hours, Hedani said. While it’s hard to tell if such problems stem from beach access parking, resort properties have the responsibility to ensure security and safety for their guests, he said.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.