Ko Olina keeps 3 public parking lots closed despite violation notice

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hundreds of people went to Ko Olina Lagoons 3 and 4 on Saturday, Oct. 10.

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It was the first day that Ko Olina Resort opened up one of its three public parking lots since the area shut down in March.

“It’s about time Ko Olina open the door to at least one of their parking lots,” said John Shockley, who is the founder of the group Free Access Coalition and a nearby resident. “The idea of them holding back the other three, that’s really illegal.”

The city issued a violation notice to Ko Olina Resort on Thursday, Oct. 8, stating that the “electronic arm gate systems have been closed and the parking areas are blocked by heavy duty barricades, denying the public access to the lagoons public parking areas, along with beach access denial to Lagoons 1 through 4.”

According to the Department of Planning and Permitting, the resorts Special Management Area Minor Permit requires the electronic gates not to be utilized to restrict public access to the public parking areas.

In the notice, DPP asked Ko Olina to provide public access to parking and all lagoons “immediately by removing the heavy-duty plastic A-frame barricades, and allow the electronic arm gate system to work as intended.”

DPP also said “the director may terminate all uses approved under this permit or halt operation until all conditions are met.”

The notice stated that if no action is taken, the DPP can impose civil fines and/or the matter may be referred to the prosecuting attorney and corporation counsel for appropriate action.

Ko Olina ended up opening up one parking area on Saturday and kept the other three closed.

Ko Olina is home to Four Seasons, Aulani, Ko Olina Beach Villas, and Marriott Vacation Club. Aulani plans to re-open on Nov. 1 to visitors.

On Friday, Ko Olina said that they want to keep the general public separate from the hotel and club owners so that they don’t risk spreading COVID-19. Depending on where a person is staying within the resort, they will be restricted from using certain lagoons.

“I’d like to see major fines these people are very rich, instead of a $10,000 fine a day, let’s start at $100,000 to get them moving. Let’s see if that will help get Hawaii’s people back to the beach,” Shockley said.

Some believe that the city should take stern measures.

“The danger is if the city should ever compromise with Ko Olina and allow Ko Olina to maintain certain bays to be shut down, they’d be exposing the city to a precedence by allowing Ko Olina to do this in the future, as well as allow other private entities or resorts to do the same thing,” said Rodney Ajifu, who utilizes Ko Olina’s Boat Harbor.

Ajifu has a long history with Ko Olina and said, “This is an on-going fight because Ko Olina is being reluctant to comply by the law and open the beaches for the beachgoers and that is wrong.”

KHON2 reached out to the city to see how much the daily fines are but did not hear back. There is no word yet on how Ko Olina plans on blocking public access to each lagoon.

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