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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Revisions sought to Turtle Bay deal of '86

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

City Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz yesterday afternoon proposed that the city administration review and ask for an update of a 1986 development agreement that would allow significant rezoning for an expansion of the Turtle Bay Resort.

Dela Cruz, who represents the North Shore area, said he introduced the proposal after hearing concerns from many residents in the community about the impact of a proposal that includes five new hotels with 3,500 rooms, and four public parks.

His resolution noted that "substantive changes in the laws and practices regarding issuance of land-use permits have occurred since 1986, when the project was granted" initial permits and zoning approval.

For example, Dela Cruz said, the unilateral agreement required that 10 percent of the nonhotel units be set aside for affordable housing while the city rules since 1994 require 30 percent of the units in a project be designated for affordable housing.

The resolution lists other concerns including park dedication requirements, traffic, historical preservation and environmental regulations. City spokesman Bill Brennan said the administration had not yet seen the resolution and could not comment.

Dela Cruz was reluctant to discuss the resolution in detail, noting that city attorneys warned him that the matter could create liability concerns for the city. He said he has declined to meet with both the developer and the opposition groups because of the strict legal guidelines.

The city Department of Planning and Permitting has said that no time frame for development was imposed in the 1986 deal approved by the City Council, and that the city could not retroactively add time limits or unilaterally rescind an entitlement.

The developer agreed to provide the community benefits in consideration for zoning approval that allowed the addition of 3,500 hotel and condo units.

Kuilima Resort Co. has yet to release a projected timetable for its planned five-hotel expansion on its 880-acre property that includes land on Kawela Bay.

Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.