Ask The Mayor

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: How do I make a complaint for excessive dog barking coming from a house in my neighborhood?

A: I truly love dogs, but I do know how frustrating it can be when owners neglect their dogs and allow them to bark nonstop outside their home. All of us should take ownership of our pets and correct behavior that would harm others. The Maui Humane Society provides much information and resources about dog barking complaints on its website at www.mauihumanesociety.org/content/503d4eaa67a80/Barking_Complaints.html. Download its Barking Dog Complaint Letter for detailed instructions.

The society strongly recommends people record the barking – either 10 minutes of continuous barking or 20 minutes of intermittent barking – as evidence for the complaint. You must submit this recording to the society’s Humane Enforcement department and fill out a Barking Violation Information Form in order for the society to take action.

Upon receiving a documented bark complaint, the society’s Humane Officers will try to work with the owner to resolve the situation. This process should take a minimum of three weeks, but if it is not effective the officers will send a report to the county prosecutor’s office. It is then the office’s decision whether or not to issue a fine for excessive barking.

To be clear, dogs are never impounded for barking complaints. A barking violation can carry up to a $500 fine. For more information or help, call the Maui Humane Society at 877-3680.

Q: I just paid my car registration fee online and noticed in the breakdown of fees that I have a “Beautification Fee” for $10. I was just wondering where the $10 goes.

A: Mahalo for the question and I can say that nothing frustrates me more than seeing a fee on my bill and not knowing what it’s for. My staff contacted the Department of Environmental Management’s Abandoned Vehicles and Metals Section and were told that this fee is a state revolving fund fully entitled the “Highway Beautification and Abandoned Vehicles Disposal Fund.” A portion of these monies is used for removal and disposal of abandoned vehicles from public roadways. The Department of Public Works also receives a small portion for tree trimming, though it is not nearly enough to address issues countywide.

As a side note, the county developed a system in 2017 to send delinquent accounts for abandoned vehicles to the county’s contracted collection agency. This has further helped the county recover costs from processing these vehicles, in addition to a bimonthly auction.

Q: What is the County Code section that applies to noise by landscapers and tree-cutting, please? I thought there was a time limit of, I think, 20 to 30 minutes? Aren’t they supposed to take a break to give those living in the immediate area a break from the noise?

A: Mahalo for the question, but I will have to give you a sort of mixed answer because it depends on what the landscapers are doing. We reached out to the state Department of Health Noise Section because they typically handle noise-related issues on the island. They said that if the landscaper is clearing trees or doing groundwork to eventually put in a subdivision or build a single-family dwelling on the site in the future, then it would fall under the state’s noise regulations.

The contractors would need to apply for a Community Noise Permit, which would allow them to exceed the state noise code from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. There is no time limit for landscaping work unless there is a Community Noise Permit.

If they are landscapers, gardeners or homeowners using equipment to trim trees or to maintain grass, shrubs, bushes, etc., then it wouldn’t fall under the state’s noise regulations. This would be considered maintenance rather than construction. DOH does not have any noise regulations that fall under maintenance, though there is a specific law that pertains only to leaf-blowers. Leaf-blowers are not to be used within a residential zone or within 100 feet of a residential zone, except between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and state or federal holidays.

I know these are a lot of conditions to take into account, so I’d like to remind everyone that you always have the right to call Maui Police Department’s nonemergency line at 244-6400 to report excessive noise. Maui police protect residents from unreasonable noise due to the disorderly conduct code.

For more information, call the DOH Noise Section at (808) 586-4700.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino 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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