Tag Archives: Shoreline Set Back

Laie Point Cliff Collapse – Erosion or Shoreline Set Back Violations?

Laniloa Point aka Laie Point in Laie, Oahu is a peninsula that juts into the ocean. Part of the Peninsula is connected at ground level by Clissolds Beach aka Bikini Beach.

The peninsula rises to higher elevation (40-45 feet) at the Laie Point Lookout. Several lower-elevation Point properties have carved steps into their backyards to gain access to the ocean. Friendly neighbors share access paths to the waters.

On October 1, 2018 a resident was walking along Clissolds Beach and noticed huge quantities of fresh naupaka foliage with its roots washed up along the shores. She had not seen this the day before. It was estimated that this cliff collapse triggered at 55-064 Naupaka Street happened in the early morning of October 1, 2018.

I live next door to this property. My house is the one on the far right. We built this home with our mason friend, Wahanui Elkington and other construction friends about 25 years ago.

Our next door neighbors then (subject white roof house with safety netting) were friendly and open. It was just the two of them senior citizens. They let the surrounding neighborhood children visit them at will. She loved children. They had a grand piano. They had a small Koi pond. We visited often. He even showed me the natural fissure in their shoreline set back  and suggested carving steps to access to the waters below, together. We both didn’t do anything about it. She passed away first. Her husband later sold the property in 2007 to the current owner from California.

This property would turn into an Airbnb vacation rental. Many illegal vacation rental impacts problems ensued.

We would be subjected to loud partying, be woken up by loud quarrels and so on. Their hot tub was first situated next to our yard boundary but would later be relocated even closer to the ocean. There would then be a fire pit with smoke coming our way.

We would hear jack-hammering. Sometimes I would even hear jack-hammering in the darkness but it would stop after I turned on our deck porch lights. These hammering, chipping, terracing and fillings into the  40 feet shoreline set back began around 2012. I heard the jack hammering and also felt the vibrations through the years.

As recently as last month, a local fisherman attested to hammering activities then in facebook comments. The local fisherman also commented he was told he was not allowed to fish from the cliff ledge.

Another local fisherman commented he could no longer fish there because of the cliff collapse. His fishing spot has disappeared. There was a parameter foot path along the cliff ledge  where local fishermen used. That path is now cut short.

Airbnb Guest reviews in 2013 also reveal the “carving” into the 40 feet setback on the cliff for a hot tub and other amenities to be closer to the ocean.

Photos of the Airbnb vacation rental website, closed as of October 14, 2018, also showed the encroachments and placement of amenities into the 40-feet shoreline setback.

Through the years, the operators of this illegal vacation rental encroached and violated Hawaii’s 40-feet shoreline setback. These continuing encroachments into the 40-feet shoreline set back crept closer and closer to the edge of the cliff and ocean.

I emailed the property owner who lives at Dana Point, California about this cliff collapse on October 1, 2018. His response was that it was an “erosion”.  He said to contact his property manager who also claimed “erosion” and that he was in no way responsible for the cliff collapse.  Their seven Airbnb online websites for Laie have been discontinued as of October 14, 2018.

As of October 15, 2018, the  Honolulu City and County Department of Planning and Permitting has issued a NOTICE OF VIOLATION to the owners in California – “Development work within the 40-ft shoreline setback, but not limited to, including a CMU fish pond, hot tub, and a circular stone fire pit-type structure are to be removed and so forth.

The Notice of Violation also stated for owners to “Restore the area immediately . . .”

How does one restore the irreparable carved out cliff top and portions of the collapsed cliff?

What is the relevance of the 40-feet shoreline set back in Hawaii?

What do you think?  Is it Erosion or did  the 40-feet shoreline set back violations through years of jack hammering, terracing, fillings, and other activities to get closer and closer to the waters contributed to the cliff collapse into the ocean?  

Additional Photos Taken October 3, 2018

Photos below expose the leveled area, fillings, and missing retaining wall at the trigger spot of the cliff collapse.

Photos below show portions of a natural vertical fissure (left) in this property.

October 17, 2018 Photos Taken BELOW Portions of the leveled area/retaining wall collapsed into the waters. A new bamboo screen and other accessories are seen. New palm frond debris now cover the surface edge of collapsed cliff top.

The hot tub below has been lifted up from its position onto the fire pit area, exposing  grading on cliff surface inside the 40-feet shoreline setback.  Other portions have further been terraced and leveled towards the ocean.

1-29-2013 Laie Point  Google Image (below) showed a “fisherman’s foot path” along the cliff’s edge known to locals.

April 2017 These images below were shared on YouTube, showing sprawl towards the natural fissure in the 40-feet shoreline setback.

Note: We welcome public input to this article. Please contact us at ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com

“No copyright infringement intended”