New Conservation Effort for Turtle Bay
by Gil Riviere, Keep the North Shore Country
Following a March 4, 2013 letter from Replay Resorts, Senator Hee agreed to hold SB 894 so that the resort developer can begin good faith negotiations with the State regarding conservation of coastal lands.
Willingness by the Developer to expand dialogue is welcome and timely.
SB 894 would authorize the state to expend funds, swap land and explore other solutions to help preserve Turtle Bay lands. This bill can be brought back next year, if negotiations fail, or to implement terms of an agreement.
Here is our statement on the matter.
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Keep the North Shore Country is encouraged that the Turtle Bay Resort developer is now open to good faith negotiations with the state regarding conservation efforts for undeveloped resort lands. This willingness to expand dialogue is welcome and timely.
We applaud efforts by Senator Clayton Hee to promote a legislative solution to the controversial expansion project. By recommending a pause in the deliberations of SB894, Senator Hee gives the developer a chance to prove its commitment to finding a reasonable balance between development and conservation. If negotiations fail, then SB894 can proceed again in the next legislative session.
In 2008, Governor Lingle correctly interpreted community sentiment when she convened a high level task force to support existing hotel operations and preserve precious coastal lands for the benefit of future generations. Unfortunately, two offers were not accepted by the resort owners and the controversy remains.
We encourage the Developer to support a conservation planning process that has recently been initiated by The North Shore Community Land Trust. This process seeks to distill an action plan to save precious coastal resources that is acceptable to the banks that control the resort.
A recent survey completed by 317 of our supporters reveals strong preference for coastal preservation. In fact, the intensity of support for coastal preservation and environmental protection was higher than reducing traffic impacts, although all three of these issues were in the 95th percentile.
There may not be one simple solution to the question of what should happen with the 1986 Turtle Bay Resort expansion plan. Keep the North Shore Country, along with other invested stakeholders, remains committed to working out a long term solution, which could include land dedication, acquisition, conservation easements, or reduced density and impacts. We expect the Developer to remain equally committed to finding a long term solution.
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Keep the North Shore Country, along with Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, won a 2010 Hawaii Supreme Court Ruling that required Turtle Bay Resort to complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement before proceeding with expansion plans. Information, links to articles and reference material on the issues surrounding the Turtle Bay Resort expansion is available at www.KeepTheNorthShoreCountry.org
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