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Abercrombie urges lawmakers to approve OHA settlement

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 2:07 p.m. HST, Feb 6, 2012

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and leaders from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs urged lawmakers today to approve a tentative agreement giving the Office of Hawaiian Affairs about 25 acres of Kakaako parcels worth an estimated $200 million to settle long-standing ceded lands claims.

The agreement, announced in November, is subject to legislative approval.

"I believe that this benefits us in terms of state responsibility. I believe it benefits the mission of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs," Abercrombie told lawmakers. "I trust when this is fully vetted you will come to the same conclusion."

The House committees hearing the bill deferred decision making until Wednesday. Senate committees are scheduled to hear a similar bill this afternoon.

Under terms of the settlement, the state and OHA would agree that $200 million represents a reasonable compromise to settle disputed claims. To satisfy the $200 million claim, the state is conveying contiguous and adjacent parcels in Kakaako Makai near Waterfront Park, including Fisherman's Wharf. Land would continue to remain under the authority of the Hawaii Community Development Authority and will continue to be under HCDA's rules and zoning.

In exchange, OHA would release all claims that it might make to ceded lands receipts.

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