Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Dear Mayor Arakawa:
Q: I’ve noticed that there is a lot of drunk driving on the island. I know of two drunk driving accidents involving people I know. They were drunk and driving their vehicles home when they got into an accident. They didn’t hurt anyone else, but their vehicles were badly damaged and they were injured. Police officers were called to take reports, but in both of these cases, no one got a DUI. My question is, are there exceptions to DUI laws where you can be involved in a drunk driving accident but walk away without a DUI? Thank you.
A: I can’t speak to those specific DUI accidents you mentioned because I don’t know the details, but in general, no, there are no exceptions to the law. I do know that if the driver was injured as you describe, and Police had probable cause to believe the person was driving under the influence of an intoxicant, the individual would have been subjected to a mandatory blood draw. This means a person does not have the option of taking a breathalizer test; their blood will be drawn, by force if necessary, and later tested. Even if a driver is hospitalized and later released pending further investigation, they would not be arrested or charged with a DUI right away, until their blood alcohol level results are sent to the County Prosecutor’s Office for review. At that time the Prosecutor’s Office will make a determination whether to submit a complaint and summons for the person to appear in court. This process can take at the very least 6-8 weeks, which is why it may appear that no action had been taken yet involving the cases you mentioned.
Q: In recent weeks, on two occasions, I saw survey teams on Puukolii Street in Lahaina. As I’m sure you know, neighbors in this area have wanted this road repaved for many years. Are these survey teams a sign that improvements might be coming to Puukolii? If so, when? And if not, what else is happening? Thanks for your column; it’s very informative.
A: Those surveyors are working for the Dept. of Environmental Management, doing background research for a future R-1 reclaimed waterline. As this project relates to Puukolii Road, there a number of privately-owned road lots that need to be transferred to the County, and we are waiting on some of the private lot owners to clean up title reports and provide clean deeds to facilitate a transfer in ownership to the County. Neither the R-1 waterline nor any paving improvements can take place until the County owns the road, which is dependent on the individual owners providing the needed documentation.
Q: I want to build a house on my family property, but it’s located in a flood zone. How do I get any needed permits to build in a flood zone?
A: You will need to have a flood development permit application prepared by a licensed professional engineer or architect and submitted to the Planning Department for review. You can find information on the application form and process online at www.mauicounty.gov/development. Under Permits, Applications & Reviews, click on “Development” and then select “Flood Development Permit.”
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.