Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lepeuli, Kauai Update

Richard Spacer sent a link to his commentary posted on the Hawaii Reporter website about the current situation at Lepeuli, Kauai -- also known as Larsen's Beach. He wrote a guest blog for Beach Access Hawaii back in August 2011, which you can read by clicking here.

Since then, he's continued to fight for public access, going through State DLNR and county channels. The upshot of his efforts is that he needs a land surveyor to help him with Boundary Identification. So if you know an honest, affordable surveyor who is willing to go to Kauai, please contact Richard at

To read his entire Hawaii Reporter piece, click here. Below are some excerpts:

... Fast forward to 2009 at Lepeuli, Kauai where a cattle rancher named Bruce Laymon applies for state and county permits for his beef cattle ranch company called Paradise Ranch. Laymon, beneficiary of a highly questionable Hawaii sweetheart deal system known as "after-the- fact" permitting, applied for these permits after the public informed land regulators that he was clearing brush mauka of the public beach there without a permit. The beach, commonly known as Larsen's Beach,  is a healthy breeding ground to federally endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals and green sea turtles... The beach never really gets busy, 20 people all day is typical... The property to which Laymon has an exclusive lease is 541 acres in size owned by Waioli Corporation, a non-profit public charity. It was purchased by Abner Wilcox, a missionary teacher, from Kamehameha III in 1850.
Laymon has an air of entitlement to the property. In March of 2010, while clearing vegetation with a brush hog in violation of his permit, Laymon told beachgoers he was going to run the f-----g  haoles out of there. How is someone going to RUN the public off a public beach? That is invasion of privacy, harrassment, and terroristic threatening. Those are all crimes for which the perpetrator can and should be arrested. It is also hate speech, stating he will run out an entire class of persons based on their race. A complaint was made to the FBI, the Kauai Police, and the former Kauai Prosecuting Attorney. No arrests were made...

The most contentious part of Laymon's permit applications was his intent to fence off the lateral, coastal trail at Lepeuli, that many believe is an ancient, historic, ala loa trail. This trail runs from ahupua'a to ahupua'a parallel to the shore. It is clearly depicted on 1833 and 1878 Registered Maps on file with the State Surveyor. Laymon, his attorney, and landowner Waioli Corporation dismiss the existence of the trail on their property.
Laymon's state Conservation District Use Permit allowed him to fence 110 feet mauka of the shoreline, inside the state Conservation District regulated by DLNR. The State of Hawaii claims a trail in fee simple in Lepeuli and this is stated in letters from 2000, 2011, and 2012. The 2012 letter is from the Attorney General to the Kauai Na Ala Hele Trail Advisory Council. It states that there is a trail in Lepeuli the State owns, but the State does not know exactly where it is, and they are not going to do anything about the trail. The State Historic Preservation Division of DLNR asked to enter the property to survey where the trail was, and landowner Waioli Corporation denied permission. That is why the State says they don't know the location of the trail, but everyone else does. Native Hawaiian sworn declarations are on file stating they or their family members walked the trail to fish and gather limu. Likewise, Patricia Hanwright in the adjoining ahupua'a of Kaakaaniu, denied permission to enter. Hanwright is united with Waioli Corporation in the position there is no trail on the properties. Since the State still claims the trail it owns, and the Highways Act says such trails are forever public, one would think raising this objection to the land regulators would end the matter. Perhaps on the mainland, but alas, there is no Highways Act on the mainland...

In May 2011 Laymon installed fencing across the lateral, coastal trail in violation of the county SMA permit. A public trail that was open for hundreds of years was suddenly closed. The state and county failed to protect the public trust and allowed private entities to take over public property that belongs to all the residents and taxpayers. How do public servants we all pay allow this to happen?
In June 2011 I appeared before the Kauai County Planning Commission where a petition I submitted was heard. I submitted a petition for An Order to Show Cause and requested the commission find Laymon in violation of the condition of his county SMA permit that forbade closing of the trail and order the fencing removed and impose fines. A memo from DLNR Chairperson William Aila was received the day before by the commission and planning department stating that the State can claim roads and trails in land-courted property...

At about the same time the State Land Use Commission issued a Boundary Interpretation for Lepeuli. This document was created by utilizing the map submitted by Paradise Ranch to Kauai County Planning and DLNR. The LUC drew on it their belief of where the boundary between the state Conservation District and state Agricultural District is. Why is that important? Because Laymon, with the backing of Les Milnes in the Kauai County Planning Department, stated the May 2011 fencing is legal, as it is totally inside the state Agricultural District, and OUT of the state Conservation District, where Laymon no longer has permission to work. Of course, Milnes is ignoring the county SMA permit condition saying the trail cannot be blocked.
Laymon's surveyor, Alan Hiranaka, depicted the lateral, coastal trail, and the fencing that blocks it, entirely outside the state Conservation District. Community members with GPS devices disagree, opining that part of the fence is clearly inside the state Conservation District, and all of it that blocks the trail. The LUC feels the same way, their line is considerably more mauka of where Hiranaka placed the line. According to the LUC, the lateral, coastal trail is entirely inside the state Conservation District.
When the attorney for Waioli Corporation, Don Wilson, learned the Boundary Interpretation was issued, he rhetorically asked if it was accompanied by a current shoreline certification survey. It was not, as the Boundary Interpretation was requested by the Kauai Sierra Club, not the landowner, and the landowner did not have any such survey done, nor would they. The Land Use Commission rescinded the interpretation. The rules for shoreline certification surveys state only the landowner or authorized representative can request a shoreline certification survey...

During the summer of 2012 several sections of the fence came down, allowing access again. Beachgoers used the lateral, coastal trail as they always did. Toddlers, mothers with baby carriages, the elderly, bike riders, even someone on crutches. For months there was no response from Laymon.
On December 1, 2012 Laymon re-built the fence, this time extending it dramatically to enclose a two acre area the Kauai Planning department permitted as a "Seabird Protection Area". Thomas Kai'akapu of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Lihue provided consultation. The same planning department that said the lateral, coastal trail could not be blocked in the SMA permit valid "forever", now grants permission for fencing that blocks the trail in not one, but two places! Of course, the only purpose of the fencing is to keep people off the trail. The seabird protection area is the latest scam to propagate this desire of Laymon and his landlord.
On December 1, 2012 while Laymon was re-building the fence, the Kauai Police Department had three officers there, in an apparent show of solidarity with Laymon. They arrested a 68 year old homeless camper named James Decker aka "Catman"on Waioli property.
Beachgoers leaving Larsen's Beach the afternoon of December 1 noticed multiple pick up trucks in the cattle pasture with guys standing on the beds with long-armed guns (rifles or shotguns) in view of the beach access road. One beachgoer spoke with one of the guys who showed him a dead pig he said he just killed. So this show of guns to hunt pigs on the same day Laymon re-builds the fence is a coincidence? One "hunter" was even parked on the county beach access road with his weapon clearly visible. This apparently was a show of force meant to say "This is mine, public keep out!" Instead of stopping Laymon from violating his SMA permit a for second time, the Kauai Police stood by making sure no one interfered. They also did nothing about all the guns in plain view of the public. The public did not feel safe using this public property resource, the beach. I filed a complaint with the Kauai Police Commission regarding the KPD actions of December 1. The commission  ruled that my complaint that the KPD stood by while a violation took place was unfounded.
I am actively interviewing surveyors and attorneys for resolving this issue in the interest of the public. If you would like to help with your professional services, please contact me, Richard Spacer, at

Monday, March 4, 2013

Papaikou Trail Commentary

NOTE: Thanks to the anonymous commenter who sent the response below to an earlier post about the debate over Big Island beach access at the Papaikou trail.

From Papa'ikou Resident:

I live in Papa'ikou, and personally know both these owners and some of the protestors.

Yes, the public access point is extremely close to the owner's house. The owners also have an issue with people making beach fires, from which the smoke goes in their house.

Both side have valid points in this issue. It should also be noted that the owners did transform this access into an easy to use trail at their own expense, which is was not before.

I doubt that Steve Shropshire would approve the alternate trail. Charlene Prickett adamantly opposed his development proposal, so not sure that he is motivated to help her. That said, I don't know his mind, although I believe he would like to earn good will from the public so that he can get some new variation of development approved for his land.

I also do not think the eminent domain acquisition will ever get though the process (and I have some reason to think that, but I'm not able to attribute a quote on this).

Ultimately, I hope the landowners and the public will find a way to meet on this. The public in this area are passionate about this access. It should be noted that there IS access from dawn to dusk, but the night access for fishermen is not resolved as far as I know.

The issue in Papa'ikou also involves a dispute over who owns the Mill Road, which is lined with homes deeded by the sugar company to its workers. The mill included the road in its sale to Waugh and Prickett, but the former employees say they were given an undivided interest in the road decades ago.

There really is no parking and no place to create any. There is not even parking for the residents as long as the owners maintain they own the road.

One possible solution is if the owners of Pinky's store agree to allow some parking on their private lot, which they might do, but I don't know if it would only be for local users.


Any other Big Island residents who want to weigh in? Please keep us posted on developments or news related to this case! Mahalo.