Ask The Mayor

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

Q: I wanted to know when are we going to start building more affordable housing? I’m a mother of five children who pays $1,576 a month on a fixed income who can’t afford to buy food, let alone qualify for food stamps. And I wanted to know what’s your next move for struggling families like mine?

A: The county just announced that it will be accepting applications for its First Time Home Buyer’s Down Payment Assistance Program, starting today. You need to complete the application, along with getting a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender to the Housing Division by 4:30 p.m. Jan 4, either via mail or hand-delivered. For more information, contact housing specialist Jessica Crouse at 270-1741. Habitat for Humanity and Na Hale o Maui are two nonprofits that also help individuals and families to become homeowners.

Q: I live in a residential neighborhood in Pukalani and one of my neighbors burns trash every day. And it’s not just food scraps or lawn clippings, it’s anything and everything in his house like Styrofoam and plastics as well. The smoke from his yard fills my house and it smells very toxic. I don’t want to cause a conflict but is there someone I can call about this?

A: If you think your neighbor’s rubbish burns could cause a fire hazard you should call 911 and ask for the Fire Department. Otherwise, you should contact the state Department of Health because they have the jurisdiction over air pollution, which is what this sounds like. That number for the state DOH Maui Clean Air Branch is 662-4005.

Q: I just drove past the old Maui Lu here in Kihei, and they were doing a lot of cleaning. Is something finally going to happen there?

A: Several years ago, it was announced that the Maui Lu Resort had been sold and was going to be redeveloped into a Hilton Grand Vacations Timeshare property. They have a grading permit that was approved last month, so it sounds like the current activity is in relation to grading work.

* 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