Q: Every year we have been fortunate to enroll our children in the county's Summer PALS (Play and Learn Sessions) program. This year, much to our dismay, all the slots had been filled, and there were no spaces available. Will the county be doing any additional hiring or opening of other sites to help with the overflow of children who were not able to enroll? I have called the PALS office, and there isn't even a waiting list available to put a child's name on in case a space opens up. My wife and I both work and having affordable child care for our children is necessary for us to make ends meet. Thank you for your time.
A: No, the Department of Parks and Recreation will not be adding any more facilities or hiring any additional staff for the 2014 summer session, but we are discussing ways to expand this important program for the 2015 summer session. One of the main obstacles the PALS program faces every summer is securing a sufficient number of locations to run the program. This summer, the island of Maui has 13 different PALS sites islandwide. Of the 13 sites, five are department facilities and the other eight sites are offered at state Department of Education schools. While it would be great to increase the number of locations, the department has only a limited number of appropriate locations to offer this program. The DOE has been a great partner over the years, but sometimes repair and maintenance projects need to be done during the summer months, so each year we face the challenge of securing new sites when certain DOE schools are not available. The PALS program does not have a wait-list policy, because there are very few, if any, parents who decide not to have their child attend the program once they register. We can revisit this with staff to see if a wait-list policy should be created. Our department staff does try to improve the PALS program each year, and it is clear there is a need in the community to provide quality programs for our youth at an affordable cost.
Q: I am new to living across from Kalama Park. Public events sometimes happen late at night when I would like to go to bed, but the amplified music keeps me awake. This is also true of some local restaurants that play amplified music past 8, 9, even 10 p.m., and sometimes on weekends past midnight. I understand an effort to look at the noise ordinances last year was never completed by the County Council. Could you please tell me what ordinances apply to the public park and to private restaurants, and what recourse I have when there is excessive noise?
A: The ordinances for park users and restaurants and bars are different in time and decibel restrictions depending on the liquor enforcement rules that apply. However, they are similar in that they are designed to protect neighbors who are trying to get a good night's sleep. Anyone playing amplified music at Kalama Park must have a county parks permit, which will require the sounds to be turned off at 10 p.m. The rules of the Maui County Liquor Commission apply to businesses such restaurants which have a liquor license and limit noise by zoning districts and time periods. Noise complaints about liquor-licensed establishments may be submitted to the Maui County Department of Liquor Control by calling 243-7487 or 243-7101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. While the Liquor Commission may place restrictions on a specific liquor license if noise becomes an issue, enforcing noise restrictions in this particular area can be challenging because there are several liquor-licensed establishments located in close proximity to one another, making it difficult at times to pinpoint the source of the noise. The Department of Liquor Control has sought the assistance of the state through the Department of Health's environmental health specialists, but even with their expertise, enforcement of noise in this high-density area remains a challenge.
Q: I would like to applaud you for the sidewalk renovations going on in Kahului along Wakea and Kamehameha avenues. I was just wondering if there is any consideration to redo the curbs and install handicap American with Disabilities Act ramps along Pomaikai and Makalii streets. I have brought it up with the county's engineering division and also a council member two or three years ago, and I get the impression that nothing is going to be done. Might I say this also may be a school zone, and at times I have noticed a lady passing by in her motorized wheelchair.
A: Actually, plans are already underway to construct ramps in the areas you described. Ramps along Makalii Street at Pomaikai Street and Apapane Place are currently being designed as part of a curb ramp project being conducted by our Department of Public Works. The plans are under review, and Public Works is aiming to have this project out to bid later this summer or in the early fall of this year.
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County-related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.