Kaua'i Shoreline Setback Ordinance (No. 863, Bill 2266, 2008)

The passage of the Kaua’i Shoreline Setback Bill in 2008 brought one of the most aggressive shoreline building setback laws in the country. The Kaua’i County setback is based on the average annual erosion rate and a planning period of 70 to 100 years, plus a buffer of 40 feet. The purpose of the ordinance was to properly site structures to protect life, property, and resources along Kaua’i’s shorelines from a wide variety of natural hazards, including high surf, hurricanes, flooding, and erosion. The Council envisioned Ordinance No.863 as an initial effort to establish shoreline setbacks while science-based coastal erosion hazards maps were being completed.

As described in “Shoreline Impacts, Setback Policy and Sea Level Rise” from University of Hawaii Sea Grant  Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy, the annual erosion rate is determined by guidelines laid out in the Hawaii Coastal Hazard Mitigation Guidebook or data from the University of Hawaii. The 70-year period is based on an engineering study to determine the life expectancy of coastal structures considering building materials, maintenance, water damage, habitability, and other factors. For larger structures, greater than 5,000 feet, the chances that the structure would be made of stone increased so the planning period was increased to 100 years.

On December 2, 2009, Ordinance No. 887 became effective, amending the original shoreline setback ordinance. The purpose of Ordinance No. 887 was to streamline permit procedures by removing unnecessary requirements for structures and activities permitted within the shoreline setback area.

Publication Date: January 25, 2008

Related Organizations:

  • County Council of Kaua'i


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Resource Types:

  • Laws

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