Ask The Mayor

Q: Who enforces the use of handicap placards? I was at Costco recently, and even before the store opened all the handicap stalls were taken by people who probably shouldn’t be using the handicap placards.

A: The state Department of Health Disability and Communication Access Board administers the statewide program for the issuance of parking placards to disabled people, in accordance with Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 291, Part III. The county Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing is tasked with issuing the handicap parking placards, and Maui Police Department handles enforcement. It is possible that the Costco members you observed were issued parking permits due to a less-visible cardiac, breathing or other condition that makes it difficult to walk. According to the state’s website, a physician must certify that the person applying for a placard meets medical criteria regarding physical mobility impairments. To learn more about the specific requirements and types of parking permits issued, visit

Q: I live along the Lahaina Sugar Cane Train route and have noticed that they have replaced the train whistle with a very irritating, loud horn. It is blasted and sounds similar to the horn on a large tractor-trailer. I am wondering if this is permanent, because if it is, I plead with the train management to look into returning the horn to something less irritating. This train runs from morning until late afternoon. Some sort of consideration should be made for locals living along the train’s route.

A: According to the Sugar Cane Train general manager, the horn you are hearing is the horn on the diesel engine that is being used during the rare occurrence that both steam engines are under repair. The company estimates the repairs will take another six to eight weeks to complete and will include the on-site fabrication of a specialized steam piston. The train runs between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and is required by federal law to sound its horn at each crossing to warn drivers and others on the road. While the lower and higher levels of the diesel horn are both within the allowed decibel range, the train engineer often has to use the louder horn because drivers attempt to “race” the train across the tracks. This happens most often at Keawe and Puukolii streets, where several collisions have occurred. Once the steam engines are back on track, their familiar whistle will also return. However, motorists should always exercise caution and respect for the train when approaching a crossing – no matter which kind of engine is being used.

Q: I am cleaning up my yard and have some pesticides I would like to stop using. These items are in their original containers and in good shape. How can I responsibly dispose of them?

A: If you are sure of the safety and the contents of the pesticides, the county’s Recycling Section recommends you give your gardening supplies to someone who could make use of them, such as neighbors, growers or landscape companies listed in the Yellow Pages. Some high schools have ag programs. Malama Maui Nui (formerly Community Work Day; phone: 877-2524) grows plants to give away at the fair, and Maui Nui Botanical Gardens (phone: 249-2798) also grows plants to give away. If you cannot locate anyone who would like your garden supplies, the items should be triple-bagged and taken to the landfill or transfer station for disposal. Pesticides are classified as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). EPA rules and regulations governing Maui’s subtitle “D” landfills allow all HHW to be disposed of in the landfill. Please keep in mind that large amounts of liquids should not be put into your refuse cart because of the mess they make in the “Opala Pickers” trucks.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email:, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Ask The Mayor

Q: I received a letter from the Office of the County Clerk, which contained a Voter Registration and Permanent Absentee form. The cover letter states that the county is updating its database of registered voters. It further states that the county is enclosing a Wikiwiki Voter Registration & Permanent Absentee Form for my use. The problem is that nowhere does the letter state whether someone who is already registered and does not wish to be a permanent absentee voter needs to return the form. The statement that the county is updating its database implies that I need to return the form to stay in the database. As a registered voter whose information has not changed and who does not wish to reregister as a permanent absentee, I do not want to be dropped from the rolls. Is it required that I return the form, even if none of my information has changed?

A: The update of the voter registration database is being conducted to gather any changes to names, addresses and contact information, and to encourage voters to receive ballots by mail as a “permanent absentee” voter. Individuals already registered to vote will NOT be dropped from the rolls if the form is not returned; it is simply a way to gather updated information. Any questions regarding the voter registration, permanent absentee ballot or other elections-related questions may be directed to the County Clerk’s Office at 270-7749. Online information from the State Elections Office is available at

Q: I live in a neighborhood in Kihei where many cars are parked on the sidewalks at night. On most weekends, during the day there are oversized pickup trucks parked in a particular driveway, and the front of the truck blocks the sidewalk. Kids, strollers and even wheelchairs must go out into the street to navigate – and forget about using the sidewalk at night. Isn’t there a law about street parking at night? Can something be done to reclaim our sidewalks for pedestrians, instead of them being used for parking? Thank you.

A: The Maui County Code includes parking restrictions that list places where people cannot park their vehicle, including a sidewalk. According to Chapter 10.48.030 A1, “no person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the law or the direction of a police officer or traffic control device, in any of the following places: 1. Sidewalk; 2. Within 4 feet of either side of a public or private driveway.” With regard to overnight parking (Chapter 10.48.110), no person shall park a vehicle on any roadway for a period longer than 20 minutes between 2 and 6 a.m. MPD says that for the most part, these offenses are complaint-driven, and one would have to call the police nonemergency number (244-6400) to lodge a complaint. An officer would respond to the scene and note the vehicle’s position via the odometer or by marking the tires. The officer would then return 20 minutes later to determine if the vehicle was in fact moved. If no movement is detected, the vehicle would receive a parking citation.

Q: Is it legal for motorcycle groups to employ the use of road guards at intersections and cross streets, thereby stopping motor vehicles until the group passes?

A: The Maui Police Department does not allow this action for any motorcycle group, car group or individuals. As with the question regarding parking on a sidewalk Maui County Traffic Code, Chapter 10.48.030, states that “no person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle . . . in any of the following places: 3. Within an intersection.” Thus, the use of self-appointed “road guards” at intersections or cross streets is not permissible to allow a group of motorcycles or vehicles to pass. No citizens shall obstruct or block traffic to alter the normal flow for their own personal use.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at askthemayor@mauicoun, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email

Ask The Mayor

Q: Along the three-mile stretch of land along North Kihei Road that is flanked by Kealia Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and the Pacific Ocean, there are no trash barrels available. The area is frequented by fishermen, tourists and weekend partiers, all of whom seem to leave their trash behind to blow into the pond and the sea. Cleanup of the area seems to rely on organized volunteer cleanup crews or individuals who pick up trash as they walk along the beach. This is an extraordinarily sensitive stretch of land and it deserves good stewardship. Is there anything you can do to help with this situation? Mahalo for your time and attention.

A: Indeed, this is a very special stretch of coastline that is ecologically delicate and offers sweeping vistas of Maalaea Bay, Kahoolawe and Molokini. I contacted the landowner and learned that Alexander & Baldwin conducts nightly security patrols in the area to monitor activity and directly encourage ocean users to take their opala (litter) home with them. Additionally, license agreements with canoe clubs on the south end of Sugar Beach include stipulations that club members participate in the stewardship of the land by conducting cleanups and helping look after the area. A&B also hires contractors to clean the area from time to time and has worked with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the turtle fence, which has protected much of the shoreline and prevented turtles from crossing the busy highway. Statistics show that having trash barrels in an area does not necessarily lead to a cleaner environment; ironically, it often leads to increased dumping. Thus, emphasis has been placed on regular beach cleanups. A local business recently conducted a major shoreline cleanup at Kealia; when I passed through the area I did not observe trash or windblown debris. My heartfelt thanks to all who dedicate their time and energy to help malama (care for) this exceptional shoreline.

Q: I enjoy walking in Wailuku for exercise, but came across a section of sidewalk near the bridge where the sidewalk is overgrown with tall weeds. It presents a safety issue for pedestrians who need to use the sidewalk. Whose responsibility is it to maintain the sidewalk, and how can I report this to the proper authorities?

A: According to Chapter 12.02.020 of the Maui County Code, it is the responsibility of the property owner whose land abuts or adjoins a county street to maintain the sidewalk area so it is free of weeds and noxious growth. The best way to report an overgrown sidewalk is to fill out a Request for Service using the county website: “”> Click on “Online Services” (lower left) and select “Request for Service.” Include specific details on the location and scope of the concern, so that county staff can follow up accordingly.

Q: Would you know how a vehicle can be properly disposed of on Lanai? I work for an organization with a van that’s not running anymore that needs to be put to rest. Thanks for your help.

A: There is currently a derelict vehicles and metals collections and recycling event happening on Lanai Nov. 4 -21. Pulama Lanai (formerly Lanai Co.) is working with our county contractor to pick up items from residents over the next two weeks. However, last week was the vehicle pickup week and it is likely that the limit of 24 vehicles for this collection event has already been reached. Future collections are being planned for early spring. Lanai residents also can put appliances, propane tanks, auto batteries and tires out curbside during the next two weeks (call first for collection schedule). On Molokai, the county receives these items at the Molokai Metals Facility at the Molokai Landfill during regular landfill hours. Metals recycling events are also held periodically in Hana/East Maui.To inquire about participating in a vehicles/metals recycling event, call the county’s Office of Abandoned Vehicles and Metals at 270-2106. Call toll-free from Lanai, 1-800-272-0125, ext. 2106, or from Molokai, 1-800-272-0117, ext. 2106.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email

Ask The Mayor

Q: I wanted to know what is going on with the Kalama Wastewater station. Also, why the stink still in Kalama neighborhood? What is being done?

A: Contractors are working on an upgrade of the odor-control unit at the Kihei No. 6 Pump Station at Kalama Park. The county project involves rehabilitating the wetwell; the new odor-control unit is expected to alleviate the odor concerns at the pump station.

Q: My job requires me to locate houses. Many houses and properties do not have visible addresses. Is there a county ordinance requiring property owners to display their addresses? This would be helpful not only to me, but also to ambulance drivers, police and firefighters.

A: Yes. Maui County Code Chapter 12.32, “Numbering of Buildings,” requires that all owners of buildings and property for which a street number or numbers have been assigned by the Department of Public Works shall “install on or affix to each building the number or numbers applicable thereto in such a manner as to be readily seen from the roadway.” The code also specifies that the numbers should be at least two inches tall, and a different color than the background they are installed on. If a building is not visible from the roadway, the street number should be placed on a post, mailbox or other object near the property’s driveway in a color that can be readily seen. Maui County Code Chapter 19.530.030 also provides for administrative enforcement, including a notice of violation, a civil fine not to exceed $1,000 or a civil fine not to exceed $1,000 per day that the violation persists.

Q: I wanted to bring to your attention the fact that my neighborhood is very dark. I don’t feel safe at night, and it’s difficult to see if someone is walking by or a bicyclist is passing when you’re reversing your vehicle out of your driveway. Can we please have streetlights on our street? I live on Ainakea Road in Lahaina. It would be greatly appreciated if we could make that happen.

A: For county roads, such as Ainakea Road in Lahaina, new streetlights may be requested by first filling out a form with our Engineering Division of the Department of Public Works. The form can be found online at; click on “Street Light Application and Instructions.” All requests for new lights must first be reviewed by the Outdoor Lighting Standards Committee, which will make a recommendation to the director. Recommendations approved by the director are then installed once any engineering and funding constraints are met.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuk 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email