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County to halt all commercial activity at parks Sundays, holidays

New permit restrictions to take effect in about 30 days

WAILUKU — Amendments to rules for Commercial Ocean Recreational Activity permits — to prohibit activity on Sundays and holidays — will take effect in about 30 days following a public hearing on the changes Tuesday, county officials said.

County Parks and Recreation Department officials said at the hearing that the rule changes will ensure fair use and reduce damage to county parks.

“The demand on county parks has grown in recent years, as has the resident and visitor numbers,” permits officer Lisa Almeida said during the hearing that lasted 15 minutes at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center. “In an effort to ensure a fair and equitable use of county park facilities by the community as a whole, the administration is proposing a prohibition of CORA activities on Sundays and holidays countywide.”

According to the amendments, CORA operations are prohibited on holidays recognized by state and federal governments. This includes New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Good Friday, Prince Kuhio Day, Kamehameha Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Statehood Day, Labor Day, general election day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The major county parks included in the rule changes are Baldwin Beach Park in Paia; Cove Park in Kihei; Hookipa Beach Park in Kuau; Kamaole Beach Park I (including Charley Young Beach), Kamaole Beach Park II, Kamaole Beach Park III and the southern portion of Kalama Park from the sand beach at Cove Park to the southernmost parking area adjacent to South Kihei Road in Kihei; Launiupoko Beach Park and Puamana Beach Park, both in Lahaina.

The full list of West Maui, Kihei-Makena and Wailuku-Kahului beach parks that fall under CORA can be found on mauicounty.gov/1480/Department-Rules.

In July, the County Council passed, and Mayor Michael Victorino signed, a measure that banned commercial activity at Hanakaoo Beach Park on the west side.

The commercial permits cover surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, windsurfing and kiteboarding instruction and snorkeling tours.

Only two people showed up for the public hearing and no testimony was given.

County spokesman Chris Sugidono said Wednesday that the revisions to the administrative rules will take effect in about 30 days. The rule changes do not require action by the County Council.

The amendments and Tuesday’s public hearing follow up on Victorino’s comments in August on the TV show “Insights on PBS Hawai’i.”

“Our residents are feeling very pressured, even when they go to their beaches, they feel like they are pressured because they can’t get on their beaches because it is inundated by commercial activities and as well as tourists using our beaches,” he said on the program, which included the four county mayors.

Victorino said on the program that he would be proposing changes that would eliminate commercial permit activity on Sundays and holidays at county parks.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.