Ask The Mayor
Q: Are there any plans for expansion of bike trails (not bike lanes) on Maui? One need exists between the airport bike trail and the Baldwin Beach bike trail, on the side of Hana Highway. Another great location would be adjacent to Honoapiilani Highway on the west side between the train yard and Maui Preparatory Academy on the old abandoned pineapple haul roads. Riding in a bike lane alongside heavy traffic is dangerous because there are lots of trucks and distracted drivers. Thank you.
A: Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, we are actively planning for several bike path projects, including the final segment of the airport to Paia bike path, which is currently in the environmental assessment process. Final design and construction are expected to be completed in the next two years. It’s important to note that in general, bike paths are more difficult to implement due to the need for more land; however, some cyclists prefer them for the greater degree of separation from traffic they often provide. The state and the county follow the Bike Plan Hawaii, which was last updated in 2004. This plan, which was reviewed by the public, allows us to plan for bike improvements like the projects you mentioned. An update to the plan is needed soon, and I met recently with some bicycling advocates to address top concerns. The closure of the railroad in Lahaina certainly does present an opportunity for a rails-to-trails facility. Much of the railroad runs on private land, as well as through some county- and state-owned property. This is an excellent opportunity that an update to the Bike Plan can address, as well as the upcoming West Maui Community Plan. I anticipate an advisory group will be established soon that will advise my administration on the next steps in the planning, design, construction and maintenance aspects of bike facilities. Another important aspect of the advisory group will be education – not only of bike riders, but also the drivers who need to share the road with bikes and make bike lanes safer to use.
Q: I was recently mailed a copy of the Maui County Refuse Collection Holiday Schedule. My question pertains to certain items listed in the mailing as banned from refuse collection, namely dead animals and animal feces. If they are banned, what are we to do with them? I just reviewed the summer edition of Talking Trash and found alternatives for most of the banned items listed, but no mention of dead animals or animal feces. Just two weeks ago, I found a dead rat in my driveway. If not trash, what was I supposed to do with it? Spoiled food, including meat, is not banned, so what is different about a bird, mouse or rat carcass? Just today I found a large deposit of animal feces next to my mailbox. What should I do about that? Thank you for your answers and please also consider publishing the information in “Talking Trash” so everyone knows.
A: Thank you for asking. Yes, our Solid Waste Division staff will add some clarification to the next edition of “Talking Trash.” In general, small animal feces and waste (including dog, cat, small indoor pets, dead rats, kitty litter, dog poop, small caged pet litter, etc.) is fine to throw in the trash. You should seal the refuse in a bag to avoid odors and pests such as flies. Larger animals over 25 pounds (such as larger dogs, goats, pigs, deer, carcasses, animal remains, etc.) should not be thrown in a residential trash can, but rather taken to the Maui Humane Society (per its requirements and fees for private cremation) or to the landfill. For landfill disposal, residents must call ahead to make arrangements so that staff will be prepared for immediate disposal and covering to avoid health and safety concerns. To view the Maui Humane Society requirements, visit www.mauihumanesociety.org
Q: There is a large amount of graffiti that needs to be covered up just north of Kilohana Drive at Piilani Highway on the mauka side of the highway. There are large concrete blocks that cascade up the gulch; these are covered with graffiti. Does the county take care of covering this up? Or could a citizen do it with the approved paint color? I don’t like keiki having to see graffiti. It teaches them to accept mediocrity. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
A: I asked our Public Works Department to identify the specific area you described, and it appears to be the concrete drainage channel that goes under Piilani Highway just north of the Kilohana Drive intersection. Because Piilani Highway is a state roadway, the graffiti removal would also be taken care of by state highways crews, so I have forwarded the information to the Maui office of the state Department of Transportation, Highways Division, for handling.
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com.
Ask The Mayor
Q: Can you please explain the outdoor lighting rules and advise residents what can be done if a neighbor is subjected to regular and annoying glare from another neighbor’s spotlights or floodlights?
A: Certainly. Outdoor lighting regulations are covered under Maui County Code, Chapter 20.35, which states that all outdoor lighting fixtures are required to be fully shielded, as defined in that chapter, unless specifically exempted. One such exemption is made for outdoor lights controlled by a motion sensor which is timed to turn off within five minutes.
If you are being subjected to annoying lights from a neighbor, the first step would be to contact your neighbor to let them know of the disturbance and the regulations for outdoor lighting. If you are still being subjected to the lights, you can submit a Request for Service through the county website at www.mauicounty.gov/rfs to have a county electrical inspector investigate the outdoor lighting for compliance with MCC 20.35. Keep in mind that if a home is in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association, the HOA may have its own standards relating to light intrusion.
Q: I live in Piilani Village II in Kihei, and my house backs up to what is supposed to be the continuation of Liloa Street north of Waipuilani, known as the “collector” road. Every now and again the state, or perhaps it’s the county, sends some heavy earth-moving vehicles behind my house to do I’m not sure what. Over the years, I have heard rumors that a) the space available between the opposing housing subdivisions is too narrow to accommodate a two-lane thoroughfare and still have room for a shoulder and sidewalks, or b) the wide gorge just to the north that carries runoff to the ocean would require a bridge that would involve engineering and federal monies to proceed. When Joe Bertram was our state representative, he promised a greenway walking and bike path, similar to that created on both sides of our roundabout except without the cars. But, unfortunately, he could not count that as one of his many accomplishments. Can you clarify exactly what the current state and county plans are for the development of that land and what, if any, time frame one could expect?
A: According to our public works director, the north-south collector road is still projected to be built in those sections where we have the right of way, like the Waipuilani Road-to-Kaonoulu Street section. As you point out, bridges will be needed, which will be very expensive, so we will need to rely on federal highway funding to supplement the construction cost. The right of way in this area, at 60 feet wide, is enough to do a two-lane road with supporting bike and pedestrian facilities. As part of the federal planning process, we have positioned this portion of road in the federal fiscal year 2019 budget, which would provide enough time to complete necessary studies, permitting and design. Other sections of the road could then follow suit. The section from Alanui Kealii Drive to Keonekai Road was a requirement of various project approvals, so I am pleased to report that we were able to begin construction after working with the developer to overcome numerous land acquisition and permitting challenges.
Q: Currently, there are no speed bumps on Papa Avenue fronting Lihikai Elementary School. Are there plans to put in speed bumps by the crosswalks fronting Lihikai Elementary School as part of the new repaving project?
A: No, traffic calming devices will not be installed near Lihikai Elementary as part of the current repaving project. Speed humps/bumps are only allowed on minor residential roadways. Papa Avenue is a major collector roadway, thus it is not eligible for the speed hump program or for speed tables, which are a wider variation of the residential area speed hump. However, all school zones do have speed limits that were designed to be respected by motorists and enforced by police.
Ask The Mayor
Q: After five consecutive years of renting at the same property in Kihei, I am being asked to vacate because the Mainland-based landlord wants to do vacation rentals. This action will displace a total of six individuals who now have to find somewhere else to live. I was wondering if private vacation rentals are even legal in Maui County. If so, what are the statutes regarding transient vacation rentals?
A: Yes, private vacation rentals, both bed-and-breakfasts and short-term rental homes, are legal in Maui County if they conform to the requirements of the ordinances (Chapters 19.64 and 19.65 of the Maui County Code) and if the necessary permits are obtained from the Planning Department. To view the ordinances, visit “http://www.mauicounty.gov/laws”>www.mauicounty.gov/laws and click on “Ordinances.”
Q: As the number of motor vehicles of various types consistently increases on our island, it becomes more and more dangerous to pedal a bicycle, regardless of so-called “bike lanes,” which only offer the illusion of protection. Relying on the few true safe bike paths inhibits traveling anywhere, which brings the question: Is it legal to ride bicycles on sidewalks? I have not found the answer to this issue in the Maui County Code and turning to state statutes offers that it is OK, so long as the cyclist yields to pedestrians and travels no more than 10 mph, except in business districts. Are these areas designated by the county’s zoning districts, B-1 and B-2? Thus, would it be permissible in hotel or apartment zones? How would a cyclist know where it is allowable to ride on the sidewalk?
A: You are correct. Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS) 291C-148 prohibits riding a bike on a sidewalk in business districts. In other areas, it is allowed if the bike is traveling at 10 mph or less and if the driver yields the right of way to any pedestrians. HRS 291C-1 defines business districts very broadly as areas with buildings in use for business or industrial purposes. Please note that this description does not relate to county business zoning districts.
Q: I am writing to make a complaint about excessive private businesses at Ukumehame Park. Large tour buses have been regularly pulling up and dropping off very large groups of patrons who are escorted to all sides of the park and loaded into at least 40 kayaks. The kayaks then encroach on the surf areas and waves, making it dangerous for surfers and swimmers as the kayaks are in shallow water and deep reef areas where the surfers wait for waves. In addition, there are multiple surf schools operating from trucks and clogging the surf areas in the ocean. If that weren’t enough, the surf schools are using flying drones equipped with video cameras out in the surf. A drone was level with my face and only a few feet in front of me when I was on a wave. Drones are dangerous, noisy and remove the peace we find in the surf. They are infringing on our privacy by filming all surfers. What are the rules on private enterprise and what is your plan to ensure enforcement? I appreciate your response and help in this matter as many of us residents are upset.
A: While Ukumehame is a county park, the task of monitoring the use of flying drones over the ocean falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration. According to the FAA website, these business-use drones fall under the “Civil” category of what the FAA labels “Unmanned Aircraft Systems.” Civil UAS operators may obtain a Special Airworthiness Certificate, Experimental Category, by demonstrating that their unmanned aircraft can operate safely within an assigned flight test area and cause no harm to the public. To file a safety-related complaint about at a UAS, visit www.faa.gov/contact/safety_hotline or call (866) 835-5322 and dial option 4. Regarding the issue of commercial activities, I checked with our parks staff on the number of Commercial Ocean Recreational Activity (CORA) permits at the site. We currently have 11 vendors holding a total of 13 CORA permits at Ukumehame; these permits were grandfathered in when the current CORA rules went into effect in September 2009. The total includes eight surfing permits, three kayak and one scuba permit for the park. Ukumehame also is used by certain vendors who hold secondary permits for utilizing the park when the weather conditions are blown out at other parks, which may explain why you have seen a high number of people in the water. The rules regulate vendors’ use of parking spaces and allow no more than 14 individuals (including patrons and instructors) at a time, per surfing permit. For kayaking, no more than 22 individuals are allowed at a time, per permit. For scuba, nor more than 18 individuals are allowed at a time, per permit. Enforcement of CORA activities is limited to the three rangers who make their rounds on a regular basis; however, we will again ask the County Council next budget cycle for funding to hire additional rangers. To voice your suggestions or concerns regarding this issue, you can attend one of the community budget meetings this fall or council budget hearings next spring. To view CORA rules online, visit www.mauicounty.gov/parks and select “CORA” from the left menu.
Ask The Mayor
Q: Why can’t I sit down on a bench or stand in the shade and wait for the bus at my stop in Kihei? I use the bus regularly and have spent a lot of my hard-earned money to do so, including purchasing daily and monthly passes. I can’t afford any other mode of transportation (apart from my bike, which I use as much as possible), and I know I’m not the only person on the island in this situation.
A: While it wasn’t clear from your email which stop in Kihei you use, I can tell you that new bus shelters for Kihei are currently in the design process with construction tentatively slated for next fiscal year. The Kihei locations include both sides of Kamaole Shopping Center and Kamaole Beach Park III. Construction of new shelters this fiscal year is focused on the Lahaina area, which does not yet have any bus shelters. The shelters and benches are provided as a convenience to Maui Bus passengers, and while they are not required by law they are extremely helpful for our residents and visitors who utilize the Maui Bus. I appreciate your support for the Maui Bus and encourage you to send email, written or personal testimony to the budget office, our county transportation department or the County Council to ask for additional funding that would allow us to work toward improving services, including additional bus shelters. You also can voice your request at the upcoming community budget meeting in Kihei on Oct. 6 or at any of the other budget meetings; the schedule of meetings in each area is listed on the county website at www.mauicounty.gov/budget.
Q: I am a full-time Lahaina resident and homeowner. I regularly use the pedestrian walkway that fronts Wahikuli Park in Lahaina. It is a wonderful feature, and I am very grateful that you added it for us to enjoy. I am contacting you to request that you please change the irrigation schedule. The irrigation is on for the majority of the walkway when it is heavily used in the morning hours, between 6 and 7:30. Users are struggling to get around the sprinklers without getting wet; we are trudging through mud and wet grass clippings and ultimately getting wet and muddy. If the timers could be changed so that the irrigation of the green space was completed by 5:30 a.m., then the walkway would be clear and safe during its heavily used hours in the morning. Thank you for your time and consideration.
A: While we cannot always accommodate specific requests, I am pleased to report that our parks maintenance staff was able to adjust the irrigation timing so that it now turns off at 5 a.m. I am glad that the public is able to exercise safely and in such beautiful surroundings. Maui truly is no ka oi.
Q: Would you please tell us why all real property tax records are being digitized and now old records are being thrown out? The old paper records could be seen in full view, but now we have to ask for the right name, which is sometimes difficult when property owners have undivided interest in a parcel or we don’t know the exact tax map key. Not everyone is computer literate.
A: After the real property field books were microfilmed in 1987, they became the official records because the physical books that were available to the public were subject to being removed and tampered with. It was found that people were even drawing in unpermitted additions on their own. The official scanned records, per county rules, may be destroyed after the paper records are microfilmed. These digital files, which are searchable by TMK, name or location as with our other records, and can be viewed on county computers and will be available online for public access in the future. The original books moved when the real property office changed location, but staff are always glad to assist with looking up a parcel.
Ask The Mayor
Q: There is a stretch of beach between Baldwin Beach Park and Paia Bay, where the old lime kiln used to be, that has become a nudist gathering spot. Isn’t this an illegal activity? If so, what can be done to prevent this from going on as it has been for months now? This bay is right next to the Paia Youth & Cultural Center.
A: In talking with our Maui Police Department, they said that officers will respond to calls involving “open lewdness,” which is the law people violate when they expose themselves publicly. However, MPD recommends using two phone numbers for two different scenarios. If the person in question is nude but keeping to themselves, i.e., “passively” sunbathing, then police recommend calling the administrative line at 244-6400. If the person in question is being aggressive, exposing himself or herself to people and engaging in other forms of harassment, people should call 911. Police will respond in both cases but obviously there is a higher priority placed on the second scenario. Some people have asked whether they should take a picture of the nude sunbather with their cellphones as evidence for police when they arrive, but this is not necessary. Also, you run the risk of turning a passive situation into a confrontation if the individuals see you taking their picture. Better to let police handle the situation. On a related issue, this question serves as a reminder of why I favor the county taking advantage of the offer by Alexander & Baldwin to give us 36 acres of coastline – which would include this beach – if the county purchases a lot in A&B’s Kahului business park for our new service center. We could clear out the sugar cane and brush and make the beach more accessible for the public, which in turn would likely deter this sort of nudity from happening in the first place.
Q: On cruise ship days (currently Sundays-Mondays), crew members from the ship are jaywalking across to Maui Mall and back to the harbor by the banyan trees near the turn where Hana Highway and Kaahumanu Avenue meet. Someone is going to get run over trying to cross over those five lanes of roadway. That area by the old Kahului train depot is a really bad place to cross because it has a blind spot. The jaywalking happens all the time the ship is docked, and the passengers from the ship see these crew members crossing at that spot so they try to cross the road too. I see a lot of people stuck in the middle of the road with both lanes of traffic passing them. Doesn’t the ship tell their employees to use the crosswalk at the stoplight by Longs? Please tag those people before someone gets hit! This is happening in the morning, during the day and also at night. I know because I drive through that area all the time.
A: Thank you for your comments about jaywalking near Kahului Harbor. Our Wailuku patrol commander has been informed about this so that MPD’s community police officer in Kahului can work with cruise ship personnel to help inform crew members and visitors, and reduce the number of pedestrians who risk their lives just to save a few steps.
Q: Regarding the question you answered in last week’s column about motorcycles not triggering lights at some intersections: I’ve been told that if the light cycles two times, the rider may proceed through the red light with, of course, caution and common sense. Is this true?
A: According to Maui Police Department, while this is legal in other states, Hawaii state law does not have an exemption for motorcyclists to proceed through a red light. You can buy specialized magnets online that can help trigger the signals; however, before purchasing, consumers should carefully review the feedback from previous buyers as there is no guarantee that the magnet will work at all traffic signals. The magnets are mounted under the bike and send out a magnetic field that gets picked up by the sensors, which detect metal, not a vehicle’s weight.