Turtle Bay Resort is ready to proceed with an effort to expand farming on land it owns mauka of its hotel and golf course on Oahu’s North Shore following completion today of a $6 million deal to protect the agricultural land from development in perpetuity.
The Army, the state and the city contributed the $6 million to purchase a protective easement covering 468 acres that restricts the land from uses other than farming and conservation, including a specific prohibition against housing unless it is for farm workers.
”This agreement guarantees this massive parcel of prime property will always be utilized to grow crops and help feed the people of Koolauloa and the North Shore,” Drew Stotesbury, CEO of Turtle Bay Resort, said in a statement. “There will never be gentleman estates or residential developments built on these farmlands.”
Turtle Bay had been working on the easement sale for about five years and had previously expected the sale to close early last year.
A nonprofit organization, The Trust for Public Land, arranged the purchase through government land conservation programs. The Army chipped in the most money, $3 million. The city and state each contributed $1.5 million.
Turtle Bay intends to use the proceeds to improve farm infrastructure including roads, irrigation and streams. The company wants to attract more farmers to lease land, with an aim to supply produce for the resort and the broader community. A farmers market within the resort and more farm-to-table dining and social events also are part of the plan.
Currently, only 12 farmers lease parcels on the property known as Kuilima Farms, and much of the land is fallow.