Gov. Abercrombie Announces 'Keep the Country Country' Deal to Preserve 665.8 Acres at Turtle Bay Resort
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More than 600 acres at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore would permanently be put off limits to development, under a proposed $48.5 million deal announced today by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
The deal, which is pending the approval of state lawmakers, calls for establishing a conservation easement on 665.8 acres at Turtle Bay.
The easement would designate most of the shoreline as a recreation zone, ensure that the resort’s golf course remains as open space, and protect sand dunes and wetlands.
If the agreement goes through, Turtle Bay will slash its plans for expansion by about 60 percent, reducing the number of new hotel and residential units it will build from 1,375 to 735, according to Drew Stotesbury, CEO of Turtle Bay Resort.
"This protects the heritage and rural character of the North Shore to 'Keep the country country'," Abercrombie said at a news conference announcing the agreement.
The agreement does not stop Turtle Bay's controversial plans to build two new hotels along the coast, and a 100-unit resort housing development on the Kahuku side of the property.
The two other partners in the deal are the City and County of Honolulu, which will contribute $5 million toward the purchase of the easement, and The Trust for Public Land, which will add $3.5 million. Abercrombie has asked state lawmakers to approve $40 in general obligation bonds to fund the rest of the purchase.
The easement would remain in place even if ownership of the resort changes hands.