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Ask the Mayor: Why Can’t an ‘Ohana Have a Kitchen?

Maui Now stock photo. June 2016.

Maui Now stock photo. June 2016.

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

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected] [1], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Aloha Mayor,

Q: A lot of the regulations for an ‘ohana unit make sense—size limits by lot size, parking place, etc. But why is a kitchen not allowed? Tenants can’t prepare meals economically with no kitchen, partly canceling out an ‘ohana as affordable housing.

Basically, it reduces an ‘ohana from a real apartment to a vacation rental for tourists affluent enough to eat out their whole trip. But vacation rentals are criticized as removing housing from the market and greatly restricted.

Please explain what I’m missing here.

A: I’d be glad to. An ‘ohana is allowed to have a full kitchen, but only one ‘ohana is allowed per lot. If a lot has one house and one ‘ohana, each with its own kitchen, that’s the limit for houses and kitchens. What often happens is that a property owner wants to add a second kitchen to their house, effectively creating two ohanas— when only one is allowed.

What often happens is that a property owner wants to add a second kitchen to their house, effectively creating two ohanas, when only one is allowed.