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Typical Hawaiian coastal dune vegetation conceptual cartoon

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).



With support from the National Sea Grant Law Center, partners from Maine Sea Grant, Maine Coastal Program, The Center for Law and Innovation of University of Maine School of Law, and Island Institute developed the prototype for the derivate site you are now viewing. The prototype has been translated by the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program to provide content relevant to audiences in Hawaiʻi. Maine Sea Grant owns the copyright to the prototype site; the adaptations / derivations made here are owned by the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program. Neither Maine Sea Grant nor its collaborators are responsible for the content of this derivative Site, including the accuracy of any of the legal information contained in this derivative Site.