Panel approves Turtle Bay purchase
A committee in the state Senate OKs a bill to buy the resort and prevent development
State senators are raising more questions about the price and practicality of an outright state purchase of Turtle Bay Resort as a bill to preserve the North Shore area moves ahead.
Gov. Linda Lingle, in her State of the State speech last month, called for the state or an unspecified private group to stop development of 3,000 resort rooms along the Turtle Bay area by purchasing the 850 acres.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved Senate Bill 2423 yesterday, which gives Lingle the authority to either buy or condemn the property.
Sen. Robert Bunda (D, Wahiawa-North Shore), who is backing the proposal along with Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Kahuku-Kaneohe), said the committee's action should allow continued discussion on the proposal.
"This puts all the options on the table, and now the parties can negotiate," Bunda said.
But, he added, no decision is likely until the end of the Legislature's session in April.
The bill is expected to be voted on by the entire Senate next week.
Although the measure did not include the money needed to buy the property, some senators said they were concerned about the proposal.
"I have strong reservations," said Sen. Ron Menor (D, Mililani-Waipio).
Menor says he is worried that the property would cost more than the state could afford and that the state would end up running the Turtle Bay hotel and golf course.
"I think there is going to be a lot of debate on this, but I also think the bill will be kept alive because it has significant public interest," Menor said.
The Koolauloa North Shore Alliance, made up of 15 community groups, has started to lobby for a state effort to block the further development of the Turtle Bay area.