"How do we get ourselves out of this fix? Sunset ... we can't lose that beach. It is like losing part of Waikiki Beach."
You might remember, three years back, when former rookie of the year Freddie Patacchia Jnr’s pretty yellow joint at 59-155 Ke Nui Rd, Sunset, was listed for sale at a non-unreasonable, given its absolute beach frontage, $US2,495,000.
Fred, who is forty-one, and who retired spectacularly at the Trestles event in 2015 after a ten-point ride in round one, bought the house for $US730,000 in 2001.
In October 2013, while competing at the Rip Curl Pro in Peniche, Portugal, Fred got the news that half of his swimming pool had fallen into the ocean, a victim of the natural movement and erosion of the beachfront shoreline.
Fred’s daddy, Fred Snr, told Hawaii News Now, “We’ve asked for help and no help came … We were telling them that if we don’t get something soon we’re in dire straits. At 10:30, the pool fell. It collapsed … We lost our entire beachfront. It took a chunk out 100 feet wide by 50-feet deep. That’s close to 5,000 square feet.”
By 2020, the pool was gone, the front of the joint shored up, and potential buyers could step straight into a front-row seat at the North Shore’s third best wave.
You also got parking for four cars, six beds, seven bathrooms on 10,000 square feet. Property tax around twenty gees.
Somewhere along the line the joint was pulled off the market and, now, if Hawaii’s dazzling young senator Chris Lee, a man real big on renewable energy, carbon neutrality as well as looking after the state’s trannies, has his way, the sate would acquire all lots stretching from 59-145 Ke Nui Road to 59-175C Ke Nui Road for “fair-market value.”
(Yeah, that includes Freddie’s joint, which at market rates is worth around four mill although the gov’s idea of fair-market value usually falls well short of what you’d get if the house was put on the market.)
“Sunset Beach is a priceless stretch of irreplaceable coastline, world-famous and iconic to the sport of surfing, and a key driver of the North Shore economy, ” said Lee. “However, the state’s failure to enforce its own laws and uphold its duties under the public trust doctrine on a small stretch of Sunset Beach coastline … has led to houses falling onto the sand, debris littering near shore waters, and limitations to public access.”
Critics say the ideas crazy ‘cause why should taxpayers bail out homeowners who weren’t exactly blind to the idea of wild erosion and, y’know, does that mean the state gotta buy every single beachfront crib?
“I don’t think eminent domain is the real answer for all of this because we certainly couldn’t do that everywhere, even if we wanted to, ” said Lee. “In this case, had the state actually been enforcing all of these years, then we wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with, one way or another. How do we get ourselves out of this fix? Sunset … we can’t lose that beach. It is like losing part of Waikiki Beach. This would be a tool to help fix that and not to set precedent for the future.”
Under Lee’s bill, the joints would be demolished and the area turned into a public park.