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State OKs proposed booze ban at sandbar for 3-day weekends

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 3:17 p.m. HST, Dec 9, 2011

The state Land Board today approved a proposal to permanently ban alcohol at the Kaneohe sandbar during three-day weekends.

Drugs and disorderly conduct will also be banned at Ahu o Laka during three-day weekends involving a state holiday.

The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation requested a permanent ban because unruly behavior significantly dropped after the land board imposed an emergency rule from June through October to prohibit unwanted activity. 

The approval today is the first step in the rule-making process toward a permanent alcohol ban at the sandbar. Public hearings will be held before the proposed ban is reviewed by the Small Business Regulatory Review Board. Another public hearing will follow before the proposed ban is sent to the review board for a second time. The issue will then be heard by the land board. If approved, it will be sent to the governor's office for approval.   

For the past several years, the sandbar has become a party site where as many as 200 boats and 500 people flock to primarily during major three-day weekends such as Memorial Day and Labor Day. Area residents had complained that the crowds were out of control.

The emergency rule curbed unwanted activity, and the number of boats and people dropped by half, according to Underwood.

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