Privately installed gates along Diamond Head lack proper permits

File - A gate preventing access was put up by private landowners in the Diamond Head area in 2016.

The city says two metal gates that popped up near the shoreline at Diamond Head are not supposed to be there.

We showed you the gates yesterday, which bookend a walkway between Makalei and Leahi beach parks.

A viewer using the Report It feature on our website asked us to look into it, concerned the gates were being used to restrict beach access.

So we checked with the city, and learned the gates were installed by at least one of the three property owners in the area. They are left open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

But are the gates allowed, and did anyone seek the city’s approval? We got more answers today.

Turns out, the gates are in what’s known as a Special Management Area, which means the property owners needed a permit to install them.

The city tells us permits have not been filed.

The city’s Department of Planning and Permitting sent inspectors to the area Thursday.

Since no permits were filed, “DPP will investigate to determine who owns the property where the gates are located and will determine the appropriate enforcement action,” Art Challacombe, DPP deputy director, said in a statement.

David Callies, a professor at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law, says the city can also just condemn the property to allow public access.

“By purchasing a right of way, or by condemning a right of way, that right of way becomes public property and they could do whatever they like,” he explained.

Many park users understand that the gates were put there because of security concerns, especially at night, but say this is not the right solution.

Security is apparently a big concern for residents. There are security cameras, and we’ve been told that there are also private security guards roaming at night.

“I had my pole in the water and then the guy came out and he told me, ‘You gotta go brah, 10 o’clock, you gotta leave the park,'” said fisherman Keoni Farias. “(He was) private security, so it kind of bummed me out and everybody else got bummed out too.”

“I understand you’re afraid people will hop over the fence into your yard, but that’s part and parcel with living on the ocean,” said Linda Wong, vice chair of the Diamond Head Neighborhood Board. “You have a beautiful place on the ocean, but it comes with certain drawbacks.”

KHON2 tried reaching out to the property owners, but have not heard back.

The city says the next step is to issue a notice of violation to the property owners. If they do not comply, then they will be fined.

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