LIHU‘E — After a short discussion, the Kaua‘i County Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee last week voted to approve a bill that would bring back a late-night alcohol prohibition to parks and facilities.
“I believe we need to have something in place for the police to enforce against people who are unruly at the parks and who get too drunk,” said Committee Chair Ross Kagawa, adding he remembers Councilman Mel Rapozo saying that “nothing really good” happens after 11 p.m., and it is a “good time” for everybody to stop drinking.
Bill 2463 is now headed to full council Wednesday — tagged with the committee’s recommendation — for second and final reading. If passed in its current form, the bill would make it illegal for anyone to “possess any intoxicating liquor between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.” at all county parks and recreation facilities.
A similar bill was shelved without action on Jan. 9, after some council members expressed concerns that the proposal allowed campers with permits to drink after hours, while others had to put away their alcohol. The new bill scratched the exemption for legal campers, and includes everyone at parks.
County Parks and Recreation Director Lenny Rapozo said there are some “bad campers,” and if the intent of the law is to give police officers a tool to deal with those who are drinking and “not conducting themselves appropriately” at parks, the bill should cover everybody.
Councilman Tim Bynum said he and Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura have recently consulted with the Kaua‘i Police Department and the county Parks and Recreation Department.
KPD, in particular, felt the new bill is an improvement from the one shelved in January, and that it gives police officers a tool that they need, Bynum said.
Bill 2463 is on the council’s agenda for Wednesday. The weekly meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the Historic County Building in Lihu‘e.
This is not the first time that Kaua‘i is faced with an alcohol prohibition. In June 2001, the council passed an 18-month late-night alcohol ban at park facilities.
The trial period ended in December 2002, but the prohibition was apparently inadvertently left in the law — including the expired sunset date — until May 2007, when it was removed from the County Code.
In September 2009, the council reinstated the ban. But about seven months later, in May 2010, when the council passed an ordinance allowing leashed dogs on the county multi-use path, the alcohol ban was somehow erased from the code, apparently as an oversight.
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