Officials of Turtle Bay Resort are pleased that a conservation easement to preserve in perpetuity 665.8 acres of scenic open space on the North Shore, including Kawela Bay, has been secured with the State of Hawaii.
This landmark agreement, which covers nearly 79% of the open space land owned by Turtle Bay Resort makai of Kamehameha Highway, was announced today by Governor Neil Abercrombie at the Hawaii State Capitol.
Added together with the 469 acres of open space land that Turtle Bay Resort owns mauka of Kamehameha Highway and is protecting with a separate conservation easement, and this brings the total amount of North Shore open space being preserved in perpetuity to 1,134.8 acres.
Drew Stotesbury, CEO of Turtle Bay Resort, commented, “It is a great privilege to be a steward of Turtle Bay. Our tenure began four years ago and, from the start, we sought opportunities to understand and balance community interests. This led to scaling back the resort’s expansion plan by more than 60% and increasing oceanfront setbacks by 50% to 300%.
“We also opened the door to working with partners on additional land conservation and are delighted the State accepted this invitation. This agreement is proof that private-public partnerships can achieve conservation of treasured natural resources. These spectacular stretches of shoreline and large tracts of land will be preserved forever as open space for all to appreciate.”
Stotesbury added, “Securing this conservation easement was a complex process that involved extensive collaboration from government, nonprofits and community members. We are appreciative of Governor Abercrombie and his administration’s leadership and efforts in working through the negotiations on an agreement that is acceptable to both the State of Hawaii and Turtle Bay Resort. We are also grateful for Senator Clayton Hee’s contribution to these negotiations, and for the support of Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu City Council in making this agreement possible.”
The conservation easement was secured for $48.5 million, of which $40 million is being provided by the State of Hawaii, $5 million by the City and County of Honolulu, and $3.5 million by The Trust for Public Land. It ensures that 665.8 acres of prime open space owned by the resort that is presently zoned for resort development will remain undeveloped forever. These areas are popular sites for hiking, fishing, and ocean sports activities.
Turtle Bay Resort will continue to maintain these areas and looks forward to enhancing them in partnership with the State of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, and community through responsible stewardship and management of the natural and cultural resources.
The conservation easement announced today complements a similar agreement Turtle Bay Resort has secured to protect 469 acres of agricultural-zoned open space land located mauka of Kamehameha Highway. The resort is working with the City, State, Federal Government, North Shore Community Land Trust, and The Trust for Public Land to finalize this conservation easement in the next couple of months.
Turtle Bay Resort retains rights to develop two new hotel sites near the existing hotel and one resort residential site on the Kahuku side of its property. The two hotels would generate an estimated 3,500 jobs during construction and, once completed, an estimated 700-plus permanent new jobs on the resort grounds and an additional 750 permanent indirect jobs within the community.