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Private Landowner Information

Q:  Where is the boundary along beaches from public land to private land?

A:  The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the shoreline should be determined by the high wash of the waves, and not just the vegetation line because that is too easily manipulated by landowners planting (see Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Decision on Shorelines).

A: The public has a right of access to and along all beaches and shorelines in the State situated below the "upper reaches of the wash of the waves." (HRS §§ 115-4, 115-5, Revised 2010).

A: Public Beach transit corridor defined. -§115-5 (a) The right of transit shall exist seaward of the shoreline and this area shall be defined as a beach transit corridor. For purposes of this section, "shoreline" shall have the same meaning as in section 205A-1."

Q:  How is the government authorized to create beach access rights-of-way over my property, isn’t this a constitutional “taking” that is violating my rights?

A:  No.  Federal law justifies government’s interest in creating easements or rights-of-way so long as it substantially advances a legitimate state interest.  Providing beach access to the public by way of beach access easements has been found to be a legitimate state interest.  See:  Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, 483 U.S. 825 (1987) (the Court determined that a legitimate nexus is required between a legitimate state interest and a permit condition); Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994) (evaluated the degree of connection required between the nexus of implementing the state interest and the state interest itself).