By Derrick DePledge
Gov. Neil Abercrombie will ask the state Legislature next session for a $40 million general obligation bond to help finance a conservation easement and protect Kawela Bay and Kahuku Point from development by Turtle Bay Resort.
The state and the resort's developers have been negotiating to conserve the land and have hired rival appraisers. The differences in the estimated value, according to a report by William Aila, the director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, are "significant, but not insurmountable."
Aila said the focus is on a conservation easement over the land rather than a fee purchase because resort owners are unwilling to sell the land. Aila also reported that a conservation plan could be in place by 2014. The resort's developers had set a deadline of Nov. 30 to wrap up negotiations.
A working group established by the Legislature to help develop a conservation plan met on Nov. 27 and has recommended that the negotiations between the state and the resort continue.