KEALAKEHE, Hawaii – The Hawaii County Council passed a resolution Wednesday that authorizes the administration to negotiate for the purchase of land at Hakalau Point.
The county Finance Committee gave the measure a positive recommendation two weeks ago in Hilo, where plenty of public testimony was given in favor of the purchase. The landowner, Steve Shropshire, said he is willing to sell, but has some very specific conditions.
There was no testimony given on the subject Wednesday during the council meeting in Kona.
During the brief discussion, Puna councilman Danny Paleka raised concerns about environmental hazards at the site of the old Hakalau Sugar Company, in particular arsenic at the former pesticide storage & mixing site. Hamakua councilwoman Valerie Poindexter agreed, and said if the county negotiation falls through, the council should be mindful of the situation when Shropshire tries to rezoning the land in order to develop the spot.
County property manager Hamana Ventura said the parcel would have to pass an environmental review before the county can purchase it.