Turtle Bay preservation agreement passes major hurdle with bill signing

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law Monday to help preserve more than 665 acres of undeveloped property owned by Turtle Bay Resort.

Act 81, which takes effect July 1, authorizes the Hawaii Tourism Authority to issue $40 million in revenue bonds and use the proceeds to acquire a conservation easement.

The measure will allow for the preservation of nearly 79 percent of the open space land owned by the resort.

It also means the area will always be open to the general public.

“We have monk seals giving birth here every single year, turtles coming up on the shore, and everything in between,” said Doug Cole, North Shore Community Land Trust. “It means that forever, people today and future generations yet to come will be able to enjoy this beautiful place.”

The agreement was the result of lengthy negotiations. Its total value is $48.5 million; $40 million will be provided by the state, $5 million will be provided by the City and County of Honolulu, and $3.5 million will be provided by The Trust for Public Land.

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