Oahu homeowners face hefty fines for unauthorized erosion control

As erosion continues to threaten homes, some North Shore residents are resorting to illegal methods to protect their properties.

Annabelle Ink reports for Honolulu Civil Beat.


In short:

  • Homeowners on Sunset Beach are facing fines close to $1 million for using unauthorized sandbags and other erosion control measures.
  • The Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) has granted contested cases for the homeowners, who argue they had no choice but to act quickly to save their properties.
  • Critics argue these methods exacerbate public beach erosion and create hazardous debris, with calls for a legislative solution to manage beach and dune erosion.

Key quote:

“I think it’s just an affront to Hawaii residents in our North Shore community. That’s the problem, in my view, of offshore owners not doing their due diligence and not really giving a rip about the community or the beach.”

— Denise Antolini, a lawyer and community advocate for beach restoration

Why this matters:

The use of unapproved sea walls and other unauthorized structures has become a last resort for homeowners trying to stave off the encroaching waters. These actions, however, can lead to significant environmental harm, disrupting marine ecosystems and exacerbating erosion in neighboring areas. Furthermore, they often provide only a temporary reprieve, as nature inevitably finds ways to circumvent human-made barriers.

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