- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Beach groups are criticizing a plan by Honolulu officials to tax Waikiki businesses to pay for restoration and replenishment of the eroding coastline.

The Honolulu city Council on Wednesday unanimously approved two measures dealing with the issue. The measures now return to the council’s zoning and planning committee for additional work, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://is.gd/uUC1oW ) reported.

The measures call for setting up a special improvement district for Waikiki Beach. The district would tax business and property owners and the money would be placed into a fund for shoreline improvement, restoration and protection efforts conducted by the state, city or other entities.

Opponents of the measures said they don’t want the effort to extend east beyond Kapahulu Avenue. They said areas east of that do not have the same sand erosion issues.

Linda Wong, a member of the Diamond Head-Kapahulu-St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board, said a proposed board of directors that would decide spending of collected revenues did not appear to have any representation from interests east of Kapahulu Avenue. Wong said no one has asked anyone east of the avenue if they would like to represent themselves.

Stuart Coleman with the Surfrider Foundation agreed.

“It gives too much power to these organizations and businesses that may not have our best interests at heart,” Coleman said.

The Waikiki Improvement Association is spearheading the special district effort, which is supported by the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands.

Supporters say the beach is eroding at a rate of about a foot a year. In recent years, the beach has received two sand replenishments, and the area would need to be replenished every 5-to-10 years, according to experts.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com


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