A parking issue prompted Honolulu police to visit several Lanikai and Kailua homes on Thursday morning.
Officers were asking residents to move objects that prevent parking in front of the homes.
It’s a practice seen in many popular tourist spots like Lanikai and the North Shore—residents keeping others off their yard by using rocks, logs or cones to block them. But what many might now know is that blocking is often illegal.
Last week, HPD sent several Kailua and Lanikai residents a letter that read:
In an attempt to address the parking concerns brought forward by numerous residents of Kailua, the Honolulu Police Department is asking your assistance with keeping the public street parking area fronting your residence clear. The practice of reserving space on public property fronting residences is not allowed under the below Hawaii Revised Statute. We are asking all residents to immediately comply with our request to discontinue the practice of blocking the city property fronting their residences.
This notice is being left to educate residences to the fact that this practice is illegal, and a notice that if this practice continues the next step will be the removal of the property violation and issuing of citations.
The Honolulu Police Department respectfully requests your compliance with this statute.
Honolulu Police Department
The statute states:
§291C-36 Display of unauthorized signs, signals, or markings. (a) Except as provided in subsection (c), no person shall place, maintain, or display upon or in view of any highway any unauthorized sign, signal, marking, or device which purports to be or is an imitation of or resembles an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal, or which attempts to direct the movement of traffic, or which hides from view or interferes with the effectiveness of an official traffic-control device or any railroad sign or signal.
(b) No person shall place or maintain nor shall any public authority permit upon any highway any traffic sign or signal bearing thereon any commercial advertising.
(c) This section shall not be deemed to prohibit the erection upon private property adjacent to highways of signs giving useful directional information and of a type that cannot be mistaken for official signs, nor the placement on privately owned highways, by the owners of the highways, of signs, of a design and at places approved by the county official responsible for traffic control.
(d) Every prohibited sign, signal, or marking is declared to be a public nuisance and the authority having jurisdiction over the highway is empowered to remove the same or cause it to be removed without notice. [L 1971, c 150, pt of §1; am L 1995, c 173, §4]
“It’s been an issue for a long time,” said Kailua neighborhood board member Al Smith.
He says the issue really began five years ago after Lanikai Beach was named “Best Beach in the World,” prompting hundreds, sometimes thousands of people a day to Lanikai Beach.
Nearby beach residents say sometimes they can’t even get out of their gates because a car is blocking them in, so some decided to start putting barriers in front of their homes.
“The response from residents is understandable and what they’ve attempted to do is put rocks, trees, different things out in what is really an ‘unimproved sidewalk’ in front of their residence to try and protect or save parking for themselves,” Smith said.
But it’s not their property, it’s the City’s, and other Kailua residents complained to HPD and the neighborhood board about the issue.
Officers tried to contact property owners who were in violation Thursday morning.
The owners then had the chance to claim their property and bring it onto their property, or in cases where no one was home, HPD removed the items.
HPD said among the objects observed were traffic cones and stanchions, planters, logs, cinder blocks, large rocks, and homemade signs.
Residents can apply for a variance to place items in front of their homes, but the city says they usually don’t give those kind of variances out since it blocks a public right of way.
In a statement HPD said, “The HPD understands that parking is limited in many neighborhoods. However, it is unlawful to place signs or objects on public roadways, and we ask that residents observe the law and show consideration toward their neighbors.”