Turtle Bay Bill Moves Forward

Jeannie Martinson
Jeannie Martinson
Laura Thielen
Laura Thielen

NORTH SHORE (KHNL) -- Governor Linda Lingle's proposal to buy the land surrounding the Turtle Bay Resort is building political momentum.

On Tuesday, a Senate Committee voted on the bill. The Water and Land Committee passed the bill, but made some amendments.

One of them would give the Governor the option to negotiate with the owners of Turtle Bay Hotel and Resort and possibly buy the property.

850 acres of Turtle Bay property, including five miles of coastline on Oahu's North Shore - it's an area Governor Lingle wants to preserve and protect for future generations.

"It has no value really. There's some people who don't understand that, that what we have there is just {something} money can't buy," said Sunset Beach resident Jeannie Martinson.

The Committee on Water and Land supports the Governor's proposal, which comes amid a controversial plan to further develop the resort.

Under the original bill, the state would buy undeveloped lands surrounding the resort. But committee members voted to expand the language to include developed areas, such as the hotel.

"It is the last fully entitled un-built resort property in our state so this is the one area where they could open up and build 5 new hotels because it is entitled in the county and state zoning," said Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Laura Thielen.

The bill now moves to another committee. The House is expected to vote on the issue in March. Then it'll be the Senate's turn. Final vote is due May 1st.

Governor Lingle will host a talk story session on her proposal to get input from the community. It'll be on Tuesday, March 4 at Kahuku High School.