HONOLULU — Hawaii senators are moving forward with a bill to direct the governor to purchase land owned by Turtle Bay Hotel and Resort on the North Shore.
Lawmakers say Hawaii governors have sought to acquire the land for years, but something needs to be done to speed up the process.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor and the Committee on Ways and Means approved a bill Wednesday that would direct the governor to continue negotiations for the property. The committees removed a highly criticized provision that would have allowed the state to use eminent domain.
The bill’s supporters include hundreds of individuals and grass-roots organizations who say government action is necessary to protect Oahu’s North Shore from turning into another Waikiki.
Many are worried about how the hotel’s planned expansion could affect the rural area and want to “keep the country country.”
But opposition to the proposal from union members and the Turtle Bay company has been loud.
Danna Holck, general manager of the hotel, said the company provides important jobs and housing for North Shore residents.
The company provided transportation to bring employees and other community members to the Capitol to make their voices heard, she said.