(BIVN) – A Hawaiʻi County Council Committee is set to weigh-in on the possible acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 2.488 acres of land in Kona, known as the Historic 88 Temple Walk.
The Hōlualoa property is located in the center of the traditional Kūahewa Field System “famous for the agriculture systems of traditional Hawaiʻi,” reads the 2022 Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Program report to the Mayor, which listed the land as the #7 top priority for acquisition. “Stone features and small walls exist on property that were once used with agriculture systems to slow and channel water. This parcel was once part of the parcel makai (westward) which is still the home of the Kona Koyasan Daishiji Mission established in 1925.”
According to the Tuesday agenda of the Committee on Legislative Approvals and Acquisitions, the measure – introduced by Kona councilmember Rebecca Villegas – seeks an easement that will “provide pedestrian access to Hōlualoa Village, facilitate reconstruction of historic trails and the Shikoku Pilgrimage Monument, and expand opportunities for recreational, educational, and social activities.”
From the language of the Resolution:
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE TO ENTER INTO NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF A CONSERVATION EASEMENT OF TAX MAP KEY (3) 7- 6- 004: 003 SITUATED IN THE DISTRICT OF NORTH KONA, ALSO KNOWN AS HISTORIC 88 TEMPLES WALK, UTILIZING THE PUBLIC ACCESS, OPEN SPACE, AND NATURAL RESOURCES PRESERVATION FUND.
WHEREAS, in 2005, the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund was established by Ordinance No. 05- 85, as codified in Chapter 2, Article 42, of the Hawaii County Code 1983 (2016 Edition, as amended) (hereinafter “the Code”); and
WHEREAS, Section 2-214. 1(c) of the Code provides that the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund shall be used for acquiring lands or property entitlements in the County of Hawaii for the following purposes:
1) Public outdoor recreation and education, including access to beaches and
2) Preservation of historic or culturally important land areas and sites;
3) Protection of natural resources, including buffer zones;
4) Preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas, natural beauty and agricultural lands; and
5) Protection of watershed lands to preserve water quality and water supply”; and
WHEREAS, Section 2- 217 of the Code provides, in part, that a duty and responsibility of the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission (hereinafter the Commission”) is to develop and submit to the Mayor an initial list of qualifying lands worthy of preservation and to update the list at any time, but at least annually by December 31 of each year; and
WHEREAS, Section 2- 218(a) of the Code provides, in pertinent part, that: “The council shall, by resolution, select the land or lands to be preserved…” and”[w]here there are multiple lands under consideration at any one time, priority shall be given to coastal lands…”; and
WHEREAS, Historic 88 Temples Walk is included on the prioritized list of lands to be considered for an acquisition of a conservation easement as priority number 7, as submitted by the Commission in its 2022 Annual Report to the Mayor dated December 23, 2022 (see “Exhibit A”, attached hereto); and
WHEREAS, Historic 88 Temples Walk, located in the district of North Kona, is approximately 2.488 acres and is significant to the County of Hawaii for the following reasons:
1) Acquisition of a conservation easement would include a safe walking path and pedestrian access to public venues and other destinations in Hōlualoa Village; and
2) Acquisition of a conservation easement would provide opportunity for community involvement through recreation, education in” an outdoor classroom”, and social interaction; and
3) Acquisition of a conservation easement would facilitate the restoration of the historic walls, walk/pathway, and Shikoku Pilgrimage Monument; and
WHEREAS, the owner of the subject property is willing to participate in the conservation easement process; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAII that pursuant to Chapter 2, Article 42 of the Code, the Director of Finance is hereby authorized to enter into negotiations for the acquisition of a conservation easement of tax map key (3) 7-6-004:003, also known as Historic 88 Temples Walk, located in Hōlualoa Village in the district of North Kona, utilizing the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Director of Finance is hereby authorized to initiate any funding mechanisms required for the acquisition of a conservation easement of tax map key (3) 7-6-004:003 situated in the district of North Kona, also known as Historic 88 Temples Walk, in accordance with the terms of this resolution.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk shall transmit a copy of this resolution to the Honorable Mitchell D. Roth, Mayor; the Director of the Department of Finance; and the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission.