Alcohol ban at Kaneohe Sandbar this Labor Day holiday weekend

Sandbar at Kaneohe Bay (Photo: DLNR)

A ban on alcohol and drug use, and disorderly behavior, will go into effect this Labor Day holiday weekend, Saturday through Monday, at the Kaneohe Sandbar, also known as Ahu O Laka.

The ban applies only to three-day holiday weekends, specifically Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day each year.

The sandbar rule first took effect over the July 4, 2012, weekend and had a sunset provision to allow the department time to monitor and evaluate its effectiveness and need for continuance or modification at that time. On July 25, 2015, Governor David Ige removed the sunset provision.

Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 13-256-73.13 Ahu o Laka Safety Zone bans the use or consumption of alcohol within the sandbar safety zone. The rule also prohibits a person under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or drugs from remaining in, or entering the safety zone, and prohibits disorderly behavior while in the safety zone.

Violations may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 or less than $50 for each violation, in addition to administrative fines, fees, costs and damages. Persons cited will be processed administratively at a public meeting before the Land Board. Persons wishing to contest the infraction(s) may request a contested case hearing.

DLNR says that since implementation of the safety zone rule, accompanied by an on-scene enforcement presence, holiday weekend conditions have been more peaceful and calm and families have said they felt safer to bring their children.

The Ahu O Laka Safety Zone is a rectangular area in the middle of Kaneohe Bay that is just over a square mile, comprising the majority of the sandbar and defined by six marker buoys. Provisions of the rule are meant to protect the public while visiting Ahu o Laka on three designated holiday weekends in summer – Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, including any three-day weekend associated with these holidays.

Ahu O Laka aka Kaneohe Bay Sandbar
Ahu O Laka aka Kaneohe Bay Sandbar

§13-256-73.13 Ahu o Laka safety zone. (a) The Ahu o Laka safety zone is the area encompassed within the boundaries designated as Zone H-2 shown on Exhibit “X-2,” “Ahu o Laka safety zone, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii” dated June 8, 2011, and located at the end of this subchapter. The boundaries of Zone H-2 are as follows: Beginning at a point in the water at 21°28.462’N 157°49.203’W, then by straight lines drawn to a point at 21°27.9647’N 157°49.140’W, then to 21°27.514’N 157°48.115’W, then to 21°28.030’N 157°47.940’W, then back to the starting point.

(b) For Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day holidays as designated in section 8-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, if any of these three designated holidays involves a three-day weekend, Zone H-2 is subject to the following restrictions during the time period of 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on each day of the three-day weekend:

(1) No person shall possess, use, or consume alcohol within Zone H-2; Unofficial Compilation 256-94
(2) No person shall enter or remain in Zone H-2 while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or drugs; provided that a person may use or possess drugs legally prescribed by that person’s physician; and
(3) No person within Zone H-2 shall:

(A) engage in fighting or threatening, or violent or tumultuous behavior;
(B) make unreasonable noise;
(C) subject another person to offensively coarse behavior or abusive language which is likely to provoke a violent response; or
(D) create a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which is not performed under any authorized license or permit.

Noise is unreasonable, within the meaning of subparagraph (3)(B), if considering the nature and purpose of the person’s conduct and the circumstances known to the person, including the time of day or night, the person’s conduct involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a lawabiding citizen would follow in the same situation; or the failure to heed the admonition of a law enforcement officer that the noise is unreasonable and should be stopped or reduced.

(c) In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, a violation of any of the restrictions described in subsection (b) shall be subject to penalties as provided in sections 200-14 and 200-14.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

(d) If any term or provision of this section, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is found unenforceable or invalid to any extent, the remainder of this section or the application of such term or provision to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held unenforceable or invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and each remaining term and provision of this section shall be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law.

(e) This rule shall take effect ten days after the filing date with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and shall be repealed three years from its effective date unless this provision is sooner repealed or otherwise amended. [Eff 8/18/12] (Auth: HRS §200-4) (Imp: HRS §§200-2, 200-3, 200-4, 200-14, 200-14.5)

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