Video by David Corrigan

HILO, Hawaii: The Hawaii County Council voted to approve the Papaikou Mill Beach access taking through eminent domain on Friday, after another lengthy day of public testimony.

Seven councilmembers voted “yes” to the resolution, which still needs to pass one final reading on November 21st.

Many in the community say the path – which has been improved and fenced off by its owners, with access granted during certain hours – has been the traditional trail to the popular Papaikou Mill for generations. The owners say the trail being used was improved by them, and that they have every right to restrict access as they see fit. As a result, tensions between the owners and the community have risen over the last few years.

The resolution, introduced bu outgoing Council Chair Dominic Yagong, would exercise the county’s power to condemn the  path, and creating an official public right of way.

Charlene Prickett was in attendance on Friday to defend her property.