North Shore Resort Reaches Settlement

Turtle Bay Resort and Sierra Club reached a settlement March 10 concerning the environmental group’s challenge of the resort’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).

The lawsuit is the second of three taken against the SEIS to be resolved. The resort secured a settlement agreement March 3 with Keep the North Shore Country. Settlement discussions continue with Unite Here Local 5 on the third and final lawsuit filed against the accepted SEIS.

A resolution of all three lawsuits is a condition for completing the conservation easement Turtle Bay Resort has negotiated with the state and county. The conservation easement will preserve in perpetuity 665.8 acres — more than one square mile — of undeveloped land located makai of Kamehameha Highway.

“We’re committed to conservation, to being good stewards of Turtle Bay Resort’s property, and to demonstrating a philosophy of responsible development to better serve the North Shore and Ko‘olauloa,” said Drew Stotesbury, the resort’s CEO.

“Everyone is in agreement that what’s most important is completing this conservation easement and protecting forever these precious lands that mean so much to the North Shore. We want to see this agreement be finalized once and for all,” he added.

The easement covers nearly 79 percent of the open space lands owned by the resort and was secured for $48.5 million, with $40 million provided by the state, $5 million by the City and County of Honolulu and $3.5 million by The Trust for Public Land.

For its part, the resort has agreed to limit future development to 725 units, which is 20 percent of the total density zoned for development. The scaled-back plan will include two small, full-service hotels with 625 rooms near the existing hotel, and up to 100 resort residential homes.

In addition to lessening development, the resort has agreed to provide an option to preserve even more oceanfront land — 32 acres located west of Kahuku Point — if Sierra Club, or its conservation partners, is able to secure the necessary funding.

Turtle Bay Resort also is finalizing a similar conservation easement to protect 469 acres of agricultural-zoned open space land mauka of Kamehameha Highway, bringing the total amount of preservation land to 1,134.8 acres.