Bill moves forward to limit nighttime parking along park on Ali’i Drive to stop drug dealing

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In a committee meeting last week, the Hawai’i County Council unanimously supported a bill to limit access to nighttime parking in Kailua-Kona along parts of Ali’i drive and in Pāhoehoe Beach Park, from the hours of 8 p.m to 5 a.m., in an effort to eliminate illicit activity, including drug dealing.

No one testified against the measure Bill 105, which was given a favorable recommendation by the Policy Committee on Infrastructure and Assets and now moves to the full council for consideration.

Stephen Pause, director of Public Works, testified that police officers have said some people parking overnight along the guardrail on the makai side of the county’s Pāhoehoe Beach Park have been undergoing illegal activity, as well as sleeping in their vehicles.

The public park runs along the rocky shoreline in Kailua-Kona, consisting of picnic tables, a small, sandy beach and a grassy area with palm trees overhead.

Parking in front of Pahoehoe Beach Park along Ali‘i Drive in Kailua-Kona. (Photo credit: Megan Hadley)

“There’s drug dealing going on along that area. The police department needed help,” said councilwoman and committee chair, Sue Lee Loy. “They needed help to keep out unwanted behavior. The guardrails have become especially problematic— is the feedback we’re getting from the police department.


“Often times, the police department is called out to situations, but there’s no real enforcement tool. This is an opportunity for police to cite individuals parking along the makai side of the road. The signage allows them to do that.”

The Hawai‘i Police Department declined to comment on Bill 105.

“We recognize the bigger housing issues we have,” Lee Loy said. “We need to provide spaces for people who are living out of their cars, and find an area they can park and feel safe; and have facilities where they can get ready, clean up and move about their day.

“That’s something I know the council is going to tackle. It’ll take a lot of people and legislation but we’re up for the challenge. The council is completely committed to finding housing solutions for everyone.”


Pause said the Department of Parks and Recreation is assisting with overnight campers, especially dealing with the disposal of trash, but it does not have authority to deal with the homelessness issue.

Councilmember Jenn Kagiwada of District 2 was concerned where the houseless would go at night if they’re prohibited from sleeping in their vehicles at Pāhoehoe Beach Park: “Is there some thought behind where these folks can actually go?”

Councilmember Cindy Evans of District 9 asked: “How will you make sure people can get out and fish overnight? Will they still have that ability?”

Councilmember Rebecca Villegas of District 7 said: “It wouldn’t prohibit fishing or native Hawaiian practice. People can park on the other side of the road. It won’t impact the capacity for shoreline fishing.”


Villegas added that if the parking restrictions don’t work or there’s grossly negative impacts, the signs can be taken down.

“We are going to try this out; this is a side of the road that is next to one of our very few parks along the ocean,” Villegas said. “They have become hot spots for some challenges and issues. By requiring the mobility of vehicles in the evening, we remove the opportunity for continued residents along guardrails and our county park at night. Let’s see how it goes.”

Megan Hadley
Megan Hadley is a freelance journalist and life coach who helps people uncover their true joy and bliss. Her work has been featured in the Associated Press, the New York Post, The US Sun, the Cincinnati Enquirer and West Hawaii Today. She lives on the Big Island.

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