Ask The Mayor

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

Q: Several years ago, I read that hotels were prohibited from placing lounges and umbrellas on the public beaches for their guests to use until the guests were actually present and requesting that service. All of the Wailea hotels seem to be following this policy except for one. I took a photo one recent morning before 7 a.m. showing over 30 umbrellas and over 60 lounges occupying nearly all of Polo Beach with not a single hotel guest visible. The pre-emptive placement of the umbrellas in advance of customer demand has basically placed the large majority of this public beach under the control of the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. If this is not legal, why is it tolerated?

A: Mahalo for bringing this to my attention. The public must always have first access to our beaches, and I am a strong advocate of keeping them open to our local families and residents.

The “presetting” of beach chairs as a commercial activity on public beaches is prohibited by state law. My staff notified the state Department of Land and Natural Resources about this particular issue, and they contacted their enforcement division, which made contact with hotel staff and documented the incident. Maui DLNR officials contacted my staff and told us that the hotel, for its part, showed a strong willingness to comply and understood that it is illegal to preset chairs on the beach.

The DLNR explained that this issue sometimes comes up when hotel management changes, and staff need to be re-educated about the law. Part of the DLNR’s civil enforcement procedures includes putting the responsible parties on notice. If they have a recurrence, then the state has the ability to issue fines per day until the issue is resolved. The public can report enforcement of state lands, including the presetting of beach chairs, to the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at (808) 643-3567.

While the state does its part on our beaches, we as a county also are committed to protecting our parks and resources. We hope to fill seven park security officer positions within our Department of Parks and Recreation very soon, with candidates taking part in a one-day recruitment and interview process Thursday.

The department’s Park Security Unit exists to educate, enforce and enrich the park experience for all community members and visitors who use our hundreds of parks and facilities. Park Security officers address park permit and enforcement issues, in cooperation with the other county and state regulatory agencies, by providing education to the public, observing and reporting on their daily findings and interactions, and issuing citations as necessary. This unit also initiates communication with other departmental staff to ensure that safety hazards, such as repair needs or health/safety risks, are addressed as quickly as possible.

Q: How do I dispose of 13 gallons of bad diesel fuel? I don’t want to pour it down the drain or into my yard, but I don’t know what to do with it. Also, where do you get rid of old paint and lawnmowers?

A: I think this is a good time to remind Maui residents of the county’s annual household hazardous waste collection event on March 24. This event is by appointment only and the deadline to schedule one is Friday, so I encourage all residents to please call our contractor EnviroServices at (855) 325-3222.

There is no fee for household hazardous waste collected at the event, however an appointment is required for participation, and the estimated types and quantities of waste must be stated. Additional waste brought to the collection event but not disclosed at the time of the appointment will not be accepted.

Household hazardous wastes that will be accepted include aerosols, antifreeze, car batteries, household batteries, fire extinguishers, fluorescent bulbs and tubes, oil-based paint, old medication, pesticides, propane tanks, solvents and thermometers. Residents are urged to call and ask EnviroServices about other hazardous waste, such as contaminated diesel fuel. They should be able to take it but will need to pack the necessary equipment.

Commercial hazardous waste will not be accepted at this household collection event. However, businesses may call (808) 839-7222 to schedule commercial waste pickup.

Hammerhead Metals Recycling also accepts old lawnmowers but all fluids and fuel must be removed. Please call them for more information and hours at (808) 280-8844.

Residents can dispose of latex paint by the “absorb and trash” method. Use old towels, cat litter or some other absorbent material to absorb the paint, triple bag it and dispose of it with your regular rubbish. It is important to avoid putting liquids into the trash to ensure that they do not cause damage to or leak from collection trucks or get spilled into dumpsters at the landfill. Latex paint is not toxic and does not affect the environment negatively when disposed of properly. Unopened cans of paint can be donated to the Habitat For Humanity ReStore, which can be reached at 986-8050.

For more information on recycling, please call the Recycling Hotline at 270-7880 or visit the county’s recycling webpage at www.mauicounty.gov/recycle.

* 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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