Ask the Mayor

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

Q: I know there are a lot of good police officers on this island who work very hard and are truly dedicated in their service in keeping our community safety. However, I would like to make a police-related complaint. How do I go about filing a complaint?

A: I agree with you, there are many, many good officers serving our community. The Police Commission receives and reviews police-related complaints. The required form is available at the Wailuku Police Station or online at; click on “Police Commission” then “Complaint Form.”

 Q: I am thinking about starting my own business.  Where would I go to obtain information and assistance?

A: A great place to start is the Maui County Business Resource Center (MCBRC). You can access information both online and in-person at the center, located at the Maui Mall across from IHOP. The MCBRC is an extension project of the Office of Economic Development and serves as a resource for new and existing business owners who need assistance and consultation. The Kuha’o Business Resource Center, located in Kaunakakai, serves business owners on Molokai. To access online business research tools, browse business publications, obtain forms and applications for business licenses and download a handbook on starting a business in Maui County, visit MCBRC. To view the calendar of workshops from the MCBRC webpage, click on “Training Opportunities.” You can call the MCBRC at 873-8247 for more information on services provided at the center.

The following question was submitted in last week’s column. However, the answer that was given was for a 1/5 acre lot, not a half-acre lot. The following answer has been changed to apply to a half-acre lot.

Q: How many ohana units are allowed on half-acre of land in Maui County? I have read where the answer is one unit and I’ve also seen two units. Can you tell me which is correct or under what circumstances each might be permit-able?

A: For a half-acre (21,780 square feet) residential property, you can build one ohana of no more than 600 square feet. Depending on the zoning, you may also be able to build more than one single-family dwelling (with no size limit). If the property is R-1, you can build one dwelling for every 6,000 square feet of lot area, which would mean three homes plus one ohana. If the property is R-2, then you can build one dwelling for every 7,500 square feet of lot area, which would mean two homes plus one ohana. If the property is R-3, then you can build one dwelling for every 10,000 square feet of lot area, which would also mean two homes plus one ohana.

* 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