County-state agreement opens door for more public parking at popular Keawakapu Beach
Beach flare-ups over parking may cool off with a new plan to put in more public stalls at popular Keawakapu in South Maui.
In the past, the coveted beach has seen a chronic lack of parking, competition among visitors and residents over stalls and reports of blocking public beach access. Now, the County of Maui is moving on a project to install about 50 new parking spots.
Mayor Michael Victorino on Friday signed an agreement with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for the county to manage a portion of state land at Keawakapu, a county spokesperson said Wednesday.
A question about timeline for the project was not answered. However, the county said that Victorino is working on the next steps.
The signature comes on the heels of a Maui County Council vote last week to approve Bill 65, which gave the mayor the green light to enter the agreement so the half-acre lot can be cleared and used for public parking.
The half-acre lot, which is filled with kiawe trees, is part of a 2.2-acre state-owned parcel.
Eventually, the county is working to use more state land for public parking, according to a previous council meeting.
Residents in the past have had to compete with nearby hotel and commercial tour users for Keawakapu spots.
Victorino has said Maui County residents have “concerns about previous attempts to block public beach access in the area and a chronic lack of parking along South Kīhei Road for residents.”
The mayor has been working on Park Maui, a plan to charge out-of-state visitors for parking at county beach parks.
Keawakapu’s public parking expansion will fall under Park Maui in the future.