Council backs removal of parking restrictions

WAILUKU – A measure to remove parking restrictions at the Old Wailuku Post Office parking lot and other lots near the Kalana O Maui building passed the Maui County Council on Tuesday.

The bill allows parking in approximately 15 stalls that were located behind the Old Wailuku Post Office, and it deletes current time limitations on nine parking stalls located along the Kaohu Street side of the Kalana Pakui Building.

Deleting the existing parking restrictions from the county code would “conform with current usage,” Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee Chairwoman Elle Cochran said.

In an interview earlier this month, Cochran said the measure would allow the Public Works Department to post appropriate signs to reflect current usage of the parking stalls.

When the measure came before the council for initial approval on Aug. 3, Council Members Riki Hokama, Mike White and Mike Victorino voted against the measure, citing potential interference with the ongoing investigation of the Old Wailuku Post Office’s demolition.

The probe, led by the county’s Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, began last week. Critics of the expenditure of county funds on the demolition project point out that money was appropriated for the post office’s “rehabilitation,” not its “demolition.”

On Tuesday, council members voted unanimously to pass the parking bill on second and final reading, 8-0 with Hokama excused because he was absent.

Victorino said after Tuesday’s meeting that he felt comfortable voting in favor of the measure after sitting down with a representative of the county Department of the Corporation Counsel.

After consulting with the county attorneys, “they felt that even if we voted yes for this parking issue, it has nothing to do with the investigation itself,” he said. “We are not giving up any rights as to what we intend to do with the investigation or the scope of the investigation.”

The bill advances to Mayor Alan Arakawa for his approval.

In other action, council members:

* Passed on first reading a request from Roger Kehler for a change in zoning from residential to community business for the Kihei Veterinary Clinic property at 1476 S. Kihei Road.

* Approved a resolution for the Hawaii State Association of Counties to seek legislation from the state Legislature to enable council members to freely attend community and educational meetings. (Currently, council members’ attendance at such events is limited by restrictions in the state’s “Sunshine Law,” which provides open government rules and guidelines.)

* Passed on second and final reading a bill to allow property owners the option to receive their tax assessment notices through electronic means, including email.

* Approved on second and final reading a bill to amend the county budget and add $130,750 to a University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program grant. (The grant will go toward establishing reconstruction guidelines and protocols for a quick recovery after a major coastal storm.)

* Passed on second and final reading a bill to prohibit parking on both sides of Front Street from Honoapiilani Highway, north toward Shaw Street in Lahaina.

* Gave final approval to a bill to prohibit parking on both sides of Onaona Street in Wailuku.

* Eileen Chao can be reached at