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State land board to decide if beachfront homeowner can contest unauthorized beach work

North Shore home beach erosion DLNR
The State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands fined Todd Dunphy for several violations on Oʻahu's North Shore. This photo was submitted with other photos as evidence.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources will decide Tuesday if it will grant a contested case hearing to a North Shore beachfront homeowner. He was fined nearly $100,000 for allegedly using sandbags and creating erosion control measures without approval.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands fined Rocky Point homeowner Todd Dunphy $92,000 in April for allegedly violating conservation district laws.

The violations include not removing sandbags and debris fronting his home and creating unauthorized control measures along the beach with a construction excavator.

The DLNR cited Dunphy on Feb. 4 for sandbags in front of his property. But in his petition, he denies installing them.

He does admit to placing sandbags in front of his property on Feb. 23 before a winter swell was expected to bring waves of 30 to 40 feet.

In April, he used an excavator to move sand to support his and his neighborsʻ properties. Dunphy said he received permission from his neighbors to do the work and notes that DLNR had previously used this emergency mediation method on several occasions.

Coastal protection groups Surfrider Foundation, Hui O Heʻe Nalu, Sierra Club and Hawaiʻi Shore and Beach Preservation Association have signed a joint statement supporting administrative fines and other penalties for conservation district violations.

They said, “The enforcement of these laws through the use of appropriate fines is needed to further strengthen the public trust doctrine and protect our resources.”

The BLNR meets Tuesday, May 31 at 9 a.m. virtually and in-person at the Kalanimoku Building in Honolulu.

Jason Ubay is the managing editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at jubay@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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