02 • 01 • 2021
Restore Public Beach Access at Koʻolina
Victory! Public parking and beach access restored to Ko'olina Lagoons.
On February 1, 2021, Koʻolina Resort fully re-opened its public parking lots and beach access for Koʻolina Lagoons. Koʻolina spent several months blocking off many of the public parking spots, citing “COVID” as a reason to do so, despite private parking areas being at full capacity. In October 2020, Koʻolina partially reopened the lots, making 111 of 180 parking stalls available. The February 1, 2021 decision restores 100% of the public access.
Koʻolina is home to four resorts: Four Seasons, Aulani, Koʻolina Beach Villas, and Marriott Vacation Club. According to the Department of Planning and Permitting, the resorts' Special Management Area Minor Permit requires them to maintain access to public parking areas and public access to the lagoons. Koʻolina does not own the shoreline and the Oahu Chapter worked with the community organization Free Access Coalition to re-establish public beach access.
Koʻolina Resorts' actions since March 2020 are a clear violation of their permit and agreement with the City of Honolulu. The resort even ignored a letter from the City of Honolulu in August 2020 requesting the same. As a direct violation of their permit, the City of Honolulu issued an official violation notice to Ko'olina Resort on October 8, 2020 requiring the resort area to immediately provide public access to the parking and shoreline areas. In response, Ko'olina opened one of three public parking lots, allowing the public to access two of the resort's four lagoons.
Public access to the lagoons should not have been denied in the first place, the Oʻahu Chapter is grateful for this beach access victory.