Ask the Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: The area in Kula above the Ali’i Kula Lavender farm on Waipoli Road is a beautiful, parklike area for walking and hiking. However, it is increasingly being used for parties. And in spite of the signs indicating that outdoor fires are prohibited, there are multiple fires each weekend. Each time we walk up there, we see old fire sites with the associated half-burned pallets, thousands of nails from the pallets, broken beer bottles, trash and piles of toilet paper with their associated human waste. It’s truly disgusting, not to mention a health hazard. Can something be done about this?

A: Yes. The property you’re referring to is private property and belongs to Kaonoulu Ranch, which to this point has graciously preserved much of the acreage as open space for the public to enjoy. However, as you mentioned, it is indeed unfortunate that some individuals have been abusing this privilege by engaging in illegal activities, such as open fires and littering. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife only has ownership and management jurisdiction over the Waipoli Road corridor (25 feet on both sides from the centerline), so the ranch is tasked with enforcement. While the ranch cannot provide 24/7 on-site management, the owners are working in partnership with DLNR to assess ways to mitigate dangerous and illegal activity in the area. If you are in the area and observe open fires or other illegal activities, please report it by calling the Maui Police Department nonemergency line at 244-6400. Thank you for your concern about this scenic and historic area.

Q: I drive daily to work from Kihei to Wailuku, and now that the tourists are back traffic is getting very backed up turning onto Piilani Highway by Sugar Beach in the afternoon. If South Kihei Road was reopened, it would assist in relieving this traffic backup. When is South Kihei Road reopening again?

A: The Waiakoa Drainage Repair project is expected to be completed by the beginning of March. The project, coordinated by the county Department of Public Works, involves the demolition of the existing 48-inch and 24-inch pipe culverts crossing South Kihei Road and associated structures. It also includes the construction of twin 10-by-3-foot concrete box culverts with concrete railings; clearing and grubbing; earthwork; reconstruction of pavement areas; cold-planing and installation of guardrails, signage, pavement markings and other incidental items. The contractor is Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., with a contract cost of $1.876 million. While work is ongoing, the Department of Public Works asks that drivers plan their routes to allow additional time and to drive safely. For more information, call the Department of Public Works Engineering Division at 270-7745.

Q: I have recently been made aware of plans to paint pickleball lines on top of the existing tennis facilities at Kula Community Center. I am adamantly opposed to this idea. I have lived on Maui since 1982 and in Kula since 2002 and use these courts frequently with my now teenage children. I feel the two sports cannot coincide on the same courts due to different rules, net damage and distracting noise. If the pickleball enthusiasts feel they need a court, they should have their own separate area. Just as baseball fields are for baseball and golf courses are for golf, tennis courts are for tennis, period; they are not multipurpose courts. Please do not allow the voices of a few outspoken citizens to sway you into making an unfair decision that affects a larger majority of tennis players on the island. Thank you in advance for using your sensibilities to stop this plan from progressing any further.

A: We have heard from a number of concerned residents on both sides of the issue. Proponents point to pickleball as a quickly growing sport that is inclusive and easy to learn. Those opposed to pickleball lines being painted on tennis courts feel as you do, that the additional lines are confusing, especially when youths are playing in competition. To be fair, our parks staff has been trying very hard to accommodate the needs of players of both sports, but it appears that some compromises will need to be made on both sides of the net, so to speak. The department is currently discussing possible plans for more pickleball courts at certain locations, as well as pickleball-only courts in other locations, such as the Haliimaile courts that are in need of repair and resurfacing anyway. Thank you for sharing your insights, which I’ll pass along to our parks department.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at askthemayor@mauicounty.gov, 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 mayors.office@mauicounty.gov.

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