Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Is it Legal for Private Landscaping to Block Public Beach Parking?

July 24, 2017, 8:14 AM HST
* Updated July 24, 8:23 AM
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Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/2013. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his 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 St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

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

Dear Mayor:

Q: My wife and I have been going to Palauea Beach (aka “White Rock”) for quite some time. Recently, two mansions have been built on Mākena Road fronting the beach. Now I see that they are extending their landscaping right up to the road, effectively eliminating beach parking.

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It is my understanding that the county has an easement from the street into the property (8 feet, I think). I live on a street with no sidewalks and I had landscaping to the street, but was ordered by the county to remove it to provide an 8-foot clear space for walking and parking.

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If this continues, when the remaining two or three lots are developed, we, the other tax-paying homeowners, will be shut out from enjoying our beloved beach.

Is this practice of “discrimination via landscape” sanctioned by the county, or are they in violation of Maui County Code?

A: Based on the photo you provided, it’s clear the property owner doesn’t want anyone parking in front of the home. However, upon checking with our Public Works department, it would be impossible to tell exactly how far the County right of way (ROW) extends without doing a survey as the ROW is different for each property.

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The good news is that the county does own two adjacent lots that will be kept open for posterity. Just up the street from the county parcels is a large parcel owned by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and it appears that parking is still accessible on the side of the road there.

Currently, there are no plans to develop the county parcels. The Parks Department is in the midst of creating the Park Systems Plan for each district, so now would be a good time to contact the department to voice your requests for this area.

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