Online appointment system available at DMVL at Maui Mall

Our County

Many of you will be happy to know that at the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing we have begun using an online appointment system.

Until a few months ago, those going to the DMVL to conduct business had to take a number and physically sit and wait to be served. Our personnel there do the best they can, but even so it can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience for our customers.

Now you can make an online appointment from home using your computer, iPad or smartphone. After receiving online confirmation, you still need to physically check in, but once the time of your appointment arrives you will be seen by service center staff immediately.

Currently this service is available only at our main DMVL service center at the Maui Mall.

At our other satellite service centers in Kihei, Pukalani and Lahaina, we don’t quite have the staffing to offer online appointments, but what we can do now is send you a text to let you know when you’re third in line so you can stop shopping and come back to the office in time for you number to be called.

So that’s what the county is doing right now to help modernize our DMVL services.

In the future — soon, hopefully — we would like to set up vehicle registration kiosks where you punch in your license plate number and last four digits of your vehicle indentification number. If your vehicle is eligible for renewal, it’ll ask for your credit card and upon payment the kiosk will update the database and spit out your renewed vehicle registration as well as your validation sticker.

Once we get this technology in place and operational, a lot of things are possible for the future. We may even expand the kiosk’s functions so that you can make your water bill payments, refuse payments and much more.

Also, as many of you know, we had our very first Affordable Housing Summit last month. Thanks to that summit, we have better information on how to help alleviate our housing needs.

We know that if the current trends continue, Maui is projected to be short 13,949 units within the next 10 years based on our most recent Hawaii Housing Study. In order to help shore up those numbers the county has:

• Introduced changes to our Workforce Housing Ordinance — section 2.96 of the Maui County Code — to allow housing credits for rental units that build over the 25 percent requirement. This alone has the potential to help various projects that could deliver over 1,000 affordable rental units.

• Partnered with Realtors Association of Maui, Hale Mahaolu and University of Hawaii Maui College to make homeownership courses available so people can make the right choices in planning for future homeownership.

• Partnered with the state and other entities to identify government-owned and underutilized parcels to get more housing built.

We also recognize the need to reduce government interference. The more restrictive policies that are enacted, the fewer homes will be built. Currently the median price for single-family homes is $740,000 and condominiums are at $435,000. For rentals on Craigslist, it can cost almost $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom, one-bath. Anything bigger goes up about a $1,000 for each bedroom.

I recently reached agreements with HC&D and Maui Lani LLC so that they wouldn’t ship our Maui sand off to Oahu to be used in rail and their projects over there. Obviously if we’re short almost 14,000 housing units, we need those resources here.

Speaking of resources, Maui County has been trying to assist the state with its shortage of school bus drivers before the school year begins.

The Department of Education has purchased youth bus passes for these students to ride the Maui Bus, however parents should note that our buses are already near capacity in the morning, and there is no guarantee that students will be able to get on.

Understand that our buses have the capacity to carry only 30 passengers per vehicle and we can’t exactly kick other riders off to make room for students. Please be prepared to make other arrangements for your children to get to class.

Hopefully the DOE can resolve its transportation issues before the school year begins.

* “Our County,” a column from Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, discusses county issues and activities of county government. The column usually appears on the first and third Fridays of the month.