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Kahala property collapses onto shoreline, blocking beachgoers

HUNAKI BEACH, Hawai‘i — Mark Enomoto walks his dog along Hunakai Beach every morning. His walk, which begins approximately a half-mile up from the end of Hunakai, is cut short every day by a collapsed beachfront on Kahala Avenue that spills across the shore and into the ocean.

“It’s just kind of a bummer that we can’t walk all the way to the end,” said Enomoto, who resides in Waialae. “But here’s a public right of way. You can wade into the water, but it’s just full of rubble and junk. It’s totally annoying.”

Enomoto said there used to be sand in front of a large pile of rubble on the home’s property, but over the years it’s “just gotten progressively worse.” He said the do-it-yourself wall on the property has gotten scoured by high tides, and now the ocean is all the way up to the pile of rubble, which has cables, poles and boulders.

When Enomoto first noticed the property collapsing onto the shore two years ago, he submitted a report through the city and county’s Honolulu 311 app, which allows residents to report issues to the city like potholes, cracked sidewalks or illegal dumping.

He checked the status of his report soon after he submitted it and found that his report had been referred to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. But when he checked his report this week, he found that it had been canceled completely.

When asked about the status of the original 311 request, city spokesperson Ian Scheuring said the request was initially routed to the Department of Parks and Recreation, which manages city beach parks. DPR determined that the issue was under DLNR’s jurisdiction.

The administrator of the Honolulu 311 app said that it’s too far back to have a record of a phone call between the city and Enomoto notifying him of the referral to DLNR. However, based on the timeline of when DPR made the determination to refer the case to DLNR and when the case was closed, the city said someone called Enomoto to inform him of the determination.

Scheuring said the request was marked as canceled because the city changed service providers for Honolulu 311’s back-end system that tracks requests, and that requests that were active or pending were reinserted into a new management system.

However, the request was marked as closed months before the provider switch — indicating that Enomoto was notified and that because the request was not marked as active or pending, it would not have been reinserted into the new management system.

Enomoto said he heard nothing from the city or from DLNR throughout the process of him reporting the issue through the 311 app.

On Thursday, Enomoto sent an email directly to Council member Tommy Waters’ office. A spokesperson for the Honolulu City Council said Waters’ office received the request Thursday morning and “immediately notified the City” through the city’s internal input system. The office also sent an email to DLNR’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands about the request.

DLNR spokesperson Patricia Jette said in an email that as of Friday, OCCL had not received a complaint regarding the property and “will need to further investigate the matter.”

OCCL said that at the property there is a fence that was authorized by the city but that due to erosion, it is “now undercut by the ocean.”

“We understand that the landowner is working with the City and County to rebuild a fence or wall further inland,” OCCL wrote in an email.

According to the state’s Public Land Trust Information System, the property is owned by Asagami Corp., a Japanese logistics company.

“To be honest, it’s just annoying. Here’s this obviously wealthy corporation that’s obviously ignoring this,” Enomoto said. “This has been going on for a long time, and they’re not doing anything about it, which is why I figured I’d reach out” to Waters.

Debris from shoreline properties is washing up on beaches around the island, but particularly on the North Shore. In early 2022 a house on Ke Nui Road collapsed into the ocean after high surf eroded the coastline.
Source: The Garden Island

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