“Ask the Mayor”
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff. Submit your own 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.
Q: When will something be done about the construction waste on the way to Maalaea from Waikapu? The construction waste is a good 15 feet higher than the road now, and more coming in every day. There needs to be a better plan for this– they should not be allowed to continue to dump or change the elevation and skyline on a very popular tourism passage to Lahaina, and to Kihei from Iao valley. Thanks for all you do.
A: The owners of Maui Demolition & Construction Landfill, Inc., DBA Maalaea Landfill, recently sent a letter to the County stating they will stop accepting waste on Aug. 31, 2016. They will continue to finish the State Department of Health’s (DOH) post-closure requirements with a permit over the next 30 years. This permit is necessary to maintain and monitor the facility, to make sure no fires are ignited and to make sure that adequate cover is maintained.
Hello Mr. Mayor,
Q: How can we stop ohana rentals? Is the island really that small with no space left to build proper roads and proper neighborhoods? No, there is a lot of space left, yet we still cram people into ohana rentals. I have ohana rentals all around me in my neighborhood, and the lack of space it creates is not pleasant! Maui has taken away my ability to enjoy my life living here, no space, privacy or peace! Please stop cramming people in and stop this from continuing! Aloha.
A: You raise an interesting question, to which there are many sides. It’s clear that land and housing costs in Hawaii are among the highest in the nation, and ohana units are a major component of our rental housing stock for local working families. In fact, Honolulu recently adopted a law to allow ohana units for the first time. We would be in dire straits without them, and in recognition of this there is an item pending before the County Council to expand the opportunities for ohanas; for example, one idea is to allow ohanas on smaller lots as long as they are rented at affordable rates, and another would allow two ohanas on larger lots. Some feel like you do, that ohanas take away privacy and space; others feel that they keep family and friends close by. Keep in mind that with or without ohanas, homes can be built up to building setback lines. From the perspective of the County Code, ohanas are called “accessory dwellings” and their sizes and allowed areas are regulated by Chapter 19.35, which was first adopted in 1982 by ordinance no. 1269. Before that, properties were allowed to have “guest houses” for temporary guests, “accessory living quarters” for people employed on the premises and “servants’ quarters” for household servants. As a reflection of the times, ordinance no. 1269 removed these terms from the County Code, and instead allowed “accessory dwellings” in order to “secure affordable housing and to preserve the extended family.” The ordinance, by limiting ohanas to lots that are 7,500 square feet or greater, also recognized the need to provide adequate infrastructure, open space, air and light.
Aloha Mayor Arakawa,
Q: I would like to know why a permit is now required to use Rainbow Park? With the parking lot unavailable (closed gate), people park on top along the very narrow shoulder of the road and then s/tumble down the steep embankment to access the park.
A: A permit is not required for usage of Rainbow Park. Its usage comes under the pavilion guidelines, which include a first-come, first-served policy. The “parking lot” you referred to will only accommodate approximately four cars, if that many. The lot has been gated for a very long time because the portable toilet, which was continually being vandalized, is placed in this area. Because the lot area is extremely small, it also caused safety concerns with park users turning from or onto Baldwin Avenue. Due to funding restrictions, it is not currently feasible to make extensive improvements to this unique but very small park.
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: 808-270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.
By Jeff King
It’s been a rugged week for Maui County Public Works workers, residents, commuters and customers across Maui County. It began with a landslide along Hana Highway Monday night when a chunk of hillside slid down – pounding a car with four scared but very fortunate occupants who all escaped injury. It happened near Keana’e Monday around 5 p.m. and closed the highway for more than three hours.
Today, the County of Maui Dept. of Environmental Management, Solid Waste Division, announced that due to mechanical problems, a residential refuse collection route on Lanai was not picked up. The route was supposed to completed today. Part of Wednesday’s route may also be delayed until Thursday, June 4, pending the completion of the repair.
“The Solid Waste Division apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates the community’s understanding and cooperation,” the press release said.
But wait – there’s more to apologize for.
Today, County Deputy Information Director Ryan Piros reported, “Due to insufficient manpower, the Hana Landfill will close at 1 p.m. on June 3. The closure is necessary as the department must be able to ensure safe operations and meet the minimum State Department of Health operating requirements of our solid waste permit.
“The Solid Waste Division apologizes for the inconvenience.”
But, oh no, we’re not done yet.
Monday this week, the correspondence began. The County press release intoned, “Due to insufficient staffing, the Hana, Molokai and Lanai landfills will be closing earlier than usual this week. Their respective landfill schedules are as follows:
– Hana Landfill will close at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2
– Molokai Landfill will close at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 6
– Lanai Landfill will close at 1 p.m. every day from June 2 to June 6, and again on June 9.
“The closures are necessary so that the Department of Environmental Management can ensure safe operations that meet the minimum State Department of Health requirements of our solid waste permit. We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”
If you can’t be patient in Maui County…you likely can’t be patient anywhere.
WAILUKU – The Budget and Finance Committee will focus on landfill hours and holiday trash pick-up at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 9 a.m. in the Council Chamber in Wailuku, Committee Chair Mike White announced today.
According to White, as of Aug. 1, the mayor cut vital public services in the area of solid waste – eliminating trash pick-up on holidays and reducing landfill hours, claiming “lack of resources.”
“The Council approved 99 percent of the Solid Waste Division’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget proposal, and increased its budget over FY 2014,” White said. “The funds to maintain trash service are there, and it is time to prioritize core services to the public.
“I am making it a priority for Tuesday’s meeting to reach out to the administration and have a meaningful discussion on landfill hours and trash pick-up on holidays.
“I look forward to an explanation of why these services were cut, and to finding solutions to these operational challenges,” White said.
Other items before the committee include the acquisition of land for a county service center and funding for Kalakupua Playground in Haiku.
For the latest news, follow @mauicounty on Twitter.
Heavy bands of rain are coming onshore near Hilo as Hurricane Iselle advances as a Category 1 storm. Winds in excess of 74 mph extend outward from the center of the storm – which is about 240 ESE of Hilo and about 350 miles ESE of Kahului. As businesses, county and state agencies prepare for the worst, we are receiving new reports of pending or confirmed closures.
Landfill Closure. On Maui, the Central Maui Landfill will close at noon today and remain closed on Friday. Residential trash pickup remains on schedule for today. However, there will be no refuse collection tomorrow, August 8. Due to the unknown results of approaching storms, no scheduled make-up dates have been set for Friday refuse collection. Solid Waste authorities remind customers to secure their curbside bins so they do not become wind-born projectiles.
Lana’i Ferry. The ferry to Lana’i has suspended service after its last crossing today (last crossing to Maui was at 10:30 a.m. Final crossing to Lana’i is set for 12:40 p.m. Winds on the Auau Channel have already begun to exceed 40 mph. Ferry office staff will not be on hand to answer phone calls after 4 p.m. today and all day Friday.
UH Campuses. The University of Hawai’i will close all campuses on O’ahu and Kaua’i Friday. UH Maui College is closing at noon today and remain closed Friday. Big Island campuses are also closed.
Public Schools are the subject of a separate press release – due out shortly.
WAILUKU – Part of a refuse collection route in Kihei was not picked up today, due to an accident. The affected area is the Betsill Brothers’ subdivision and trash for that area will instead be collected tomorrow, Oct. 25.
Also the Molokai Landfill will delay opening until 9:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25 and Oct. 26, due to a manpower shortage. The Department of Environmental Management Solid Waste Division apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates the community’s patience and understanding with these delays.
For more information about either the landfill or trash pick-up delay. Please call the Solid Waste Division at 270-7875. Mahalo.
“Ask the Mayor”
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: During the past two weeks, the traffic light at Haleakala Hwy and N. Firebreak Road has malfunctioned. I have had eight red lights while traveling on Haleakala Highway when there has been no traffic on N. Firebreak Road to trigger the change in light. Who is responsible for this and when will it be fixed?
A: The reality is that because some roadways are maintained by the State and some by the County, it’s often hard to know who to call. For traffic signals and other problems along State roads or highways, such as Haleakala, Mokulele, Piilani and Honoapiilani, you should call the State DOT Highways division at 873-3535. To report problems on County roads, or if you’re not sure whether the road is County or State, call the County’s traffic signal office at 270-7910 between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. during the week. After-hours and on weekends, please call the Maui Police Department’s non-emergency line at 244-6400 to report a malfunctioning traffic signal.
Q: I wanted to share a few concerns that I have. Recently there have been a lot of permanent “No Parking” signs posted at Ho‘okipa, which is one of Maui’s most heavily-used parks. Watch when the surf gets good this coming winter! There will be people having to park out by the highway and that could create greater dangers for motorists and pedestrians, as well as a liability for the County and State. I also requested through the Police department that more speed bumps and “Go slow” signs be posted along the one-way drive through Ho‘okipa. Thank you for your time. I’m a 43-year resident and feel these issues are very important and that it would be in everyone’s best interest if these needs were addressed quickly.
A: Thank you for sharing your concerns. According to the Department of Parks and Recreation, the permanent “No Parking” signs were installed at Ho‘okipa because emergency vehicle access was regularly being blocked by parked vehicles; these signs were replacements of ones that over the years had been broken, removed and vandalized but never replaced. The signs are designed to restrict parking near the Fire Lane, to ensure that emergency vehicles can access the park. Last week, staff were able to reconfigure a few of the “No Parking” signs to allow for additional parallel parking spaces while maintaining the Fire Lane access. A new parking area at Ho‘okipa is also being discussed; however, none of the potential parking sites are currently owned by the County. It will take time for the planning, funding and construction phases, as well as time for the public and County Council to weigh in on their vision for this important NorthShore destination. On another note, Parks is in the process of securing a contractor for the re-painting of parking lines; funds were not available in the FY13 budget, but Parks officials say the repainting should be completed this fiscal year. Parks, Police and other departments including Public Works have been working together to address all of these important safety issues at Ho‘okipa, including a recent request for speed bumps.
Q: Are there are any plans to bring back Sundays at the rubbish dump? Especially for homeowners who work six days a week, Monday through Saturday, and can only work on their yards on Sundays.
A: The Central Maui Landfill is open Monday through Saturday, from 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Several years ago, Sunday landfill service was discontinued and the County Council permanently deleted positions that had previously been used to staff the Sunday hours. We currently do not have the funding or manpower to open on Sundays again, as it is significantly more expensive to keep the landfill open on the weekends than it is during the week, when commercial tipping fees help offset operations costs. If you feel this is an important funding priority, please let me know by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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