Ask the Mayor: Can a Commercial Business Use Street Parking for Its Own Use?

December 18, 2016, 12:55 PM HST · Updated December 18, 1:03 PM
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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 at [email protected], 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Dear Mayor,

A luck few customers secure street parking Paia Town where stalls are a hot commodity. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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Q: Is it permissible for a commercial business to use street public parking for its own commercial use?

Case in point: There is an auto collision repair company in the Kahului Industrial area and every morning they open up before the rest of the area gets to work. By then they have parked all the cars they’re working on, taking up seven to eight spaces on both sides of the street.

The cars are stored there all day long so nobody else can park there. And because of that, when the rest of us come to work, we have to walk an extra two to sometimes two-and-a-half blocks before we can find parking. I would like to know if this is acceptable or fair—is he paying rent for the spaces? If he has a commercial property and needs more space for his workload then he should take steps to get storage space somewhere else besides the public parking spaces on the street.

A: This is an interesting question, with an answer that neither you nor I may have expected.

Public street parking is open to all vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis, thus the repair shop’s earlier start time gives them an advantage on using the open spaces.

Different commercial uses have different parking requirements, pursuant to Chapter 19.36A of the Maui County Code.

Presumably, neither the auto collision repair shop nor your employer are providing ample on-site parking for customers and/or employees, even if the provided on-site parking fulfills the parking requirements of the code. As I understand the code, a business is not limited to the number of public parking spots it can take up along the street. As a consideration, area businesses could work with their council member to consider parking time limits, which in theory would free up parking spaces for customers.

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