Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

State, ADA set
parking requirements

Question: Under what rules is a business required to have disability stalls? I am confused as to how many disability stalls I must have for the 11 parking stalls that I have. We have two businesses in a building we have owned on Maui for more than 30 years.

Answer: The Americans with Disabilities Act, which took effect Jan. 26, 1992, sets the requirements for businesses -- places of public accommodation -- to provide reasonable accommodation for the disabled.

Offhand, under the ADA, you should have one disabled parking stall among your 11 and it should be van-accessible, said Francine Wai, executive director of the state Disability and Communication Access Board.

State rules, on the other hand, revolve around the sign requirements so that the parking requirements can be enforced, she said. "Our rules just refer you back to the ADA in terms of the number of stalls you have to have."

You can obtain more specific information on both the stall and sign requirements by contacting Wai's office at 586-8121 or e-mailing The toll-free numbers from the neighbor islands are: from Maui, 984-2400, extension 68121; from Molokai/Lanai, 1-800-468-4644, extension 68121; from Kauai, 274-3141, extension 68121; from the Big Island, 974-4000, extension 68121.

Without knowing the specifics of your situation, Wai said it would appear you need one van-accessible disabled parking stall, "assuming that there is no technical infeasibility" because the building was built before the ADA took effect.

You are required to remove whatever barriers there may be and create a disabled parking stall "when it's readily achievable," she said. There may be site limitations, but you have "to do the maximum extent feasible."

Wai said if your building had been built after the ADA became law, the requirements for disabled parking "would still be the same, but it would be absolute." A place of public accommodation built after the ADA became law must comply with its requirements, she said.

Very generally, the number of disabled parking stalls required versus the number of stalls available "starts out at 4 percent, but as you get higher numbers, it drops in percentage," Wai said.

Ala Moana Center, hotels, stadiums or the University of Hawaii parking lot, for example, are not required to have 4 percent of its stalls earmarked for the disabled, she said. "But for most places and for most lots of ordinary size, it's approximately 4 percent."

Wai noted some places, foremost churches, are excluded from the parking requirement. "Churches are not covered under the ADA for certain provisions, including parking," she said. "They're not considered a public accommodation."


To whoever turned in a pair of sunglasses that were left at Duke's Canoe Club bar and restaurant to the Lost & Found counter. I left them in the restroom, went surfing, returned an hour later, realized my mistake, and found them waiting to be reclaimed at the souvenir counter. Your honesty and aloha made my day! -- Jason

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