NORTH KOHALA, Hawaii – Today on Oahu the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources is expected to approve a request to add a Conservation Easement to a planned 34.63 acre Legacy Land Conservation purchase at Kaiholena South. The easement will be held by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, which is funding $89,945 towards the purchase.
The total secured by the Ala Kahakai Trail Association to buy and preserve the coastal North Kohala land is $2,106,500, according to documents. The Legacy Land Conservation Fund is providing $1,449,555 of that cost. A number of other cash and in-kind donations are making up the difference.
From an Ala Kahakai Trail Association letter to the Legacy Land Conservation Commission:
We are especially grateful for the final $89,945 from the Hawaii Islands Land Trust. HILT’s contribution is secured (cash-in-hand] and as a condition of the funding, HILT is requiring a conservation easement.
Our original application to did not anticipate funding from HILT or requirement for a conservation easement (CE). Therefore, we are requesting an approvalfor a modification to our project, the addition of the conservation easement, so that we can close this project ASAP.Ala Kahakai Trail Association letter on Nov. 23, 2014
The seller, EWM Enterprises LLP, is donating land valued at $497,000, but “needs to close very soon as the extremely long escrow has been a hardship for the seller.”
From the BLNR submittal:
Through the Fiscal Year 2012‘ (FY12) Legacy Land Conservation Program (LLCP), the Board of Land and Natural Resources awarded funds to the Ala Kahakai Trail Association (AKTA) for the purchase of 34.63 acres in North Kohala, Island of Hawaii. On behalf of AKTA, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (“DOFAW”) is seeking approval to add a conservation easement, to be held by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, to the project.
At its meeting of May 11, 2012, under agenda item C-4, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) awarded $1,449,555 to AKTA for the acquisition of 34.63 acres in North Kohala, Island of Hawaii. Following this award, the Board and AKTA entered into a grant agreement defining the terms and conditions of this award. On December 5, 2014, the grant agreement was amended to extend the time of performance for AKTA to December 31, 2015 (Attachment 1).
The coastal parcel to be acquired by AKTA is within the ahupua‘a of Kaiholena and contains coastal access trails and a portion of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. The land also contains cultural sites and is within View of the Lapakahi State Historical Park. AKTA initially proposed to use a combination of private, nonprofit, and National Park Service funding to complete the acquisition.
In a letter dated November 23, 2014, AKTA listed the proposed sources of funding for completing this project, which included $89,945 from HILT. As a condition for funding the project in the amount of $89,945, HILT would be requesting a conservation easement over the property. AKTA stated that the original project had not contemplated a conservation easement to HILT, and requested an approval for this change to the project (Attachment 2).
HILT is a local nonprofit organization, tax-exempt under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). HILT’s mission is: “To protect the lands that sustain us for current and future generations.” It is an accredited land trust according to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the national Land Trust Alliance.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is recommending that the land board authorize the revision of the approved grant to include the HILT conservation easement.