Shoreline trail to expand; County eyes taking over land in North Kohala

By NANCY COOK LAUER West Hawaii Today

Another piece of a North Kohala shoreline trail is set to fall into place Wednesday, when the County Council plans to take up resolutions granting pedestrian and vehicle access.

Resolutions 63 and 64 will turn over to the county a 10-foot wide trail running for more than 2,000 feet in Ainakea and a 1.7 acre parking lot off Akoni Pule Highway, respectively.

Because of a 2002 settlement agreement between the county and Surety Kohala Corp., formerly Chalon International of Hawaii Inc., the original developer, the public accesses will not be officially open until easement documents are approved by both parties and the easements conveyed to and accepted by the county.

The North Kohala Community Development Plan identifies the acquisition of a continuous lateral access along the sea coast from Kapanaia to Ainakea as its No. 1 priority.

Charles and Lisa Anderson are trustees of the Charles A. Anderson Trust, which now owns the land where the trail is located. He said Monday that the resolution is the result of years of working with the county and the public.

“I think it’s a really good thing,” Anderson said.

The trail will continue pedestrian access between Kohala Lighthouse at Kauhola Point, a popular surf spot, to Hawi. The lighthouse was removed some years ago.

 Under the terms of the agreement, public access will be open generally from sunrise or 6 a.m., whichever is earlier, to half an hour beyond sunset or 6:30 p.m., whichever is later. Access for night fishing past 6:30 p.m. will be allowed for those individuals actively engaged in night fishing activities, but does not include the right for overnight camping.

The county will be responsible for maintaining the trail. Anderson said the trail is in good shape and he recently walked it with Toni Whittington, of the North Kohala Community Access Group.

“It’s a nice trail,” Anderson said.

Wednesday’s council meeting in Hilo will be the public’s sole chance to comment on the resolutions. South Kona/Ka‘u Councilwoman Maile David, chairwoman of the Finance Committee, said she allowed the measures to go to the council without being heard in committee first because the applicant’s attorney said there was a deadline, and county administration didn’t have a problem moving it forward.

Steven Lim, attorney for Surety Kohala Corp., did not return a telephone message for comment by press time Monday.

Email Nancy Cook Lauer at ncook-lauer@westhawaiitoday.com.

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