WAILUKU - Garnering the five necessary votes, the Maui County Council approved Tuesday an alcohol ban at Charley Young Park in Kihei.
The ban on alcohol is meant to curb unruly partygoers at the Kihei beach park where neighbors have complained about loud music, public drunkenness and bad behavior.
The measure advances to Mayor Charmaine Tavares for final action.
Voting to support the prohibition of alcohol at Charley Young Park were Council Members Jo Anne Johnson, Gladys Baisa, Mike Molina, Wayne Nishiki and Joe Pontanilla.
Council Member Bill Medeiros cast the sole vote against the measure. Council Chairman Danny Mateo and Council Members Sol Kaho'ohalahala and Mike Victorino were excused from Tuesday's meeting.
Medeiros said he believed it was unfair to penalize the thousands of people who use the park and abide by the law by implementing an alcohol ban.
"We're treating the symptoms and not the cause," he said, adding that Maui County already has laws in place to deal with disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
Molina said he agreed with Medeiros, even though he voted in favor of the ban.
"It seems unfair because of the actions of a few, we're having to have legislation," Molina said.
He said he hoped that the council action would serve as notice to people to be careful about their alcohol consumption.
Council members heard suggestions again Tuesday to extend the alcohol ban to Kalama Park and Kamaole Beach Park I, both in Kihei and located at opposite ends of Charley Young Park.
Pontanilla said he hoped the council would pursue the suggestion about prohibiting liquor at Kalama Park, where a children's playground and an inline hockey rink are located.
Johnson said the laws for public intoxication are not strong enough to address the bad behavior and concerns by residents who live near the park.
She said South Maui has only four patrol officers assigned to the area and troublemakers are often gone by the time police arrive to respond to a complaint.
Maui police officer Brad Hickle has testified in support of the ban, saying he believes alcohol is at the root of unruly behavior by beach partygoers.
The alcohol ban at Charley Young comes after the council last month passed a similar prohibition at Honokowai Beach Park.
* Claudine San Nicolas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.