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Malama O’oma Day

ooma day

County Acquires Open Space At ‘O’oma – 217-Acre Shoreline Parcel to be Protected in Perpetuity

The County of Hawai‘i’s latest acquisition in the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resource Preservation program will protect 217 acres in Kona, between Kohanaiki Shores and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i.

Ooma
‘O‘oma was the last privately-held open coastline area between Kailua town and the Kūki‘o resort, and was the top-ranked property on the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission’s latest report. The Māmalahoa Trail and Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail run through the property, and the preservation of ‘O‘oma also will help preserve ocean quality and contribute to a healthy reef.

“This open space purchase is the culmination of over 25 years of efforts on the part of the Kona community, which held onto a vision of an open coastline at Kohanaiki and ‘O‘oma,” said Councilwoman Karen Eoff, who has been involved with the community movement to protect Kohanaiki and ‘O‘oma in various capacities over the years. “This is an awesome gift to our community and validates the power in a shared vision.”

The purchase of the ‘O‘oma property closed on December 31, 2013 for $6.2 million, slightly more than half the $12 million asking price. Kohanaiki Shores, the neighboring development that has shown a commitment to preserving the beauty of Kona, assisted the County in the purchase with a $2 million donation.

This acquisition also enhances the public benefit of the 1.5 mile Kohanaiki Beach Park just to the south of ‘O‘oma, which opened to the public in June 2013. The County anticipates preserving ‘O‘oma in its current natural condition as a buffer between the mauka urban area and the ocean, while allowing access for passive recreation and subsistence fishing.

“This open space purchase adds another important, publicly owned shoreline recreational area that will serve many thousands of our residents, and will provide a place for our children and families to enjoy for generations to come,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This purchase required a cooperative effort by many community members, and we thank them for their efforts.”

Since taking office, Mayor Kenoi’s administration has purchased more than 1,247 acres to preserve shorelines and open space for children, families, and the community. Since 2008, the County has acquired open space at Kāwā (785 acres) in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena (228 acres) and Pāo‘o (10 acres) in Kohala; and La‘aloa (6 acres) and ‘O‘oma (217 acres) in Kona under the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation program.

Janice Palma-Glennie on ‘O’oma: “Learn from Past Mistakes”

Overwhelming opposition to O'oma: 10 for, 50 against. 150 turnout

Commentary:

If the State Land Use Commission (LUC) hadn’t reclassified Kohanaiki (“Pine Trees”) out of its former Conservation status for resort and urban development, the community wouldn’t have had to fight for 20 years to secure access and a shoreline public park there. In fact, without its resale value continually increased by government-added entitlements and speculative purchases, Kohanaiki’s 500 acres may well have been saved from bulldozing and now set aside as public, open space (as it should have been). Add that to the enlarging Hokulia and Palamanui debacles (and next door Shores of Kohanaiki’s hulking shell) and a slower economy, and it seems there’s a pretty significant lesson here for the LUC as it makes its decision whether or not to reclassify `O`oma for more urban development.

`O`oma Beachside Villages LLC development plan may look good on paper, but it won’t on Kona’s diminishing coastal, Conservation land. As for the real estate and construction industry’s worn-out and, frankly, sickenly repetitious claims that more approvals of grandiose development will provide needed jobs… more than 7,000 building permits are already on the books in the North Kona district alone with potential to start building today if anyone wanted to. Construction jobs aren’t lacking due to too little urban zoned land or County generosity in handing out building permits. In fact, Kona’s economy and infrastructure are helter-skelter at least partly due to a history of poor decision-making by both government leaders and greed-driven investors pushing too much development. That short-sightedness includes rezoning and allocating land for haphazardly-located, unplanned-for, mega-projects, accompanied by false hopes and promises given to construction workers and investors.

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NELHA GATE OPENED… Gate to O’oma and Kohanaiki OPEN!!

I just got wind from a reliable source that the gate to O’oma and Kohanaiki is now OPEN!