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Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff

By Staff | Jan 12, 2017

Question: Is it legal to set up camp and tents, etc., and live on the beach? I see people on the stretch of oceanfront from Papalaua Campground to Launiupoko living in tents with no sanitary facilities whatsoever (particularly at Mile Marker 14 in Olowalu; also across from Olowalu recycling center). Some of them have been there for months. If this is illegal, who enforces these laws? Obviously nobody does, because they are always there. This is really becoming a problem with tourists and visitors complaining about verbal abuse from these people who think they own the beach there. Please advise what you are currently doing to address this situation here at Mile Marker 14, a popular tourist spot here on Maui, Mr. Mayor.

Answer: These beach areas along Honoapiilani Highway are under state jurisdiction; however, our Maui County Housing & Human Concerns Department works closely with state agencies, the Maui Homeless Alliance and the Governor’s Leadership Team on Homelessness. According to DLNR, due to the high volume of illegal long-term “campers” in the areas you mentioned, officers will be posting “Notice to Vacate” flyers on the tents and conducting more patrols in the area as staff are available. For more information on the Maui Homeless Alliance, visit mhacoc.weebly.com/.

Question: Is there anything that can be done about the horrible sewage smell in Kaanapali?

Answer: I passed along your observation to the Department of Environmental Management, and our wastewater chief and superintendent checked for a smell but did not detect anything. The supervisor at the Lahaina treatment plant was notified of the complaint and instructed to report any odors when conducting daily pump station maintenance, but they have not reported anything. An engineer was also sent out last week to check one last time, but he did not smell anything. He spoke with a resident who lives across the street and normally calls him when the smell is bad, and she said there hasn’t been any smell lately. Could you be more specific about the location, days/times you have noticed this smell? Last time there was a similar complaint, it turned out to be a stormwater catchment pond with stagnant water that needed to be pumped out, which Parks and Public Works got done very quickly once it was brought to their attention. Any additional details would be greatly appreciated, so staff can investigate. Mahalo.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via e-mail at AskTheMayor@ mauicounty.gov, phone at 270-7855 or mail to 200 S. High St., Ninth Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.