KIHEI, Maui (KHON2) — Maui County moves closer to charging visitors to park at beaches and other popular areas. Officials said the PARK MAUI program is about restoring the balance between the community and the hospitality industry.

“It’s basically an opportunity for the county to start to manage and mitigate some of the parking challenges that have been experienced honestly for decades,” explained Julie Dixon, president of Dixon Resources Unlimited.

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The parking management program would require visitors to pay for parking while allowing locals to have free access.

It includes Ulua Beach and Kamaole Beach Park III in South Maui to start and streets in heavily visited areas like Lahaina and Wailuku.

“Beach rates could be anywhere from $10 to potentially as high as $30,” Dixon said. “Again, a lot of it’s going to depend upon the location, the time of year, the seasonality aspect of it.”

She said the money from the program would be reinvested in the community, and violators would be given parking citations.

Maui resident Alexa Caskey said she doesn’t think charging for parking will make a difference

“If their intention is to lower the overcrowdedness of certain beaches. I think the only way to effectively do that would be to put a cap on tourism, either by putting a cap on rental cars on Maui, or by putting a cap on the amount of like vacation accommodations that are available here,” Caskey explained. “I don’t think charging a small amount for parking is going to accomplish that in any way.”

Dixon said the program will be run by the Maui County Department of Transportation.

Maui resident Casey Logsdon said he doesn’t think they should be charging visitors more money.

“You know, eventually they’re going to figure this out and go, ‘Wow, let’s go somewhere else,'” Logsdon said.

While Park Maui likely won’t start until Spring or Summer 2023, officials are holding two virtual public meetings Wednesday, Aug. 24 to get feedback from the community. The first is from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the second is 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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The online meeting link will be available two days prior on Monday Aug. 22 and can be found on the PARK MAUI website.