You are here:  Main / Customer Services / Public Communications Division / honnews06 / Mayor Approves Waimea Valley Resolution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      April 3, 2006 Release M-39-06

 

 

MAYOR APPROVES WAIMEA VALLEY RESOLUTION

 

            Mayor Mufi Hannemann has approved resolution 06-017, FD 1, approving the court-mediated settlement of the Waimea Valley condemnation case.

            The resolution authorizes the City to acquire, in lieu of a fee-simple interest in the property, a conservation easement and a public access easement over the valley for $5.1 million to protect it from development. A consultant indicated the value of the perpetual easements is worth considerably more than that.

            “This finalizes the City’s commitment to the acquisition of  Waimea Valley in order to protect this pristine treasure from development for future generations,” said Hannemann., who pushed for a negotiated settlement rather than have the courts decide the issue. Under that agreement, a consortium of government and public interest organizations will pay $14 million to landowner Christian Wolffer for the 1,875-acre valley.

In addition to the City, the parties are:

·         U.S. Army (through the Trust for Public Land), $3.5 million

·         Office of Hawaiian Affairs, $2.9 million

·         State Department of Land and Natural Resources, $1.6 million

·         National Audubon Society, $1 million.

            Wolffer acquired the valley, including Waimea Falls Park, in 1996. In 2000, he offered it for sale at $25 million, which he later lowered to $19 million. Wolffer filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001. The City moved to condemn the valley and took possession of it in 2002. At the same time, the City deposited $5.1 million in court as condemnation proceedings began.

            Saying the land was worth far more, Wolffer filed pleadings to contest the City’s condemnation. Last year, a tentative settlement was reached that would have allowed the City to acquire the lower 300 acres of the valley, including Waimea Falls Park for the $5.1 million it had deposited with the court for the lawsuit,  while Wolffer would have kept the remaining 1,575 acres, where he sought to develop as many as eight private homes.

            In the face of vocal public sentiment to preserve the valley, however, the City Council rejected that tentative settlement.

            Mayor Hannemann kickstarted the negotiations with all parties, and in February helped broker the settlement through the court-appointed mediator, Clyde Matsui.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will obtain title to the valley, with the other parties having various stakes in it.

            “The City did not pay a single penny more than the $5.1 million we originally set aside in 2002 to obtain the valley,” Hannemann said.   “This is a fine example of a public-private partnership that works out to the benefit of all involved. We’re grateful to these groups that answered the call when I asked them to ‘show me the money.’ And we’re especially grateful to the hundreds of people who spoke out in favor of protecting Waimea.”

            The mayor also approved Resolution 06-062, which provides for the acquisition of a 1 acre parcel of land for the Hauula Fire Station relocation project.

 

 

-30-

Contact:

            Bill Brennan, 527-6928

            Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767   

Monday, April 03, 2006

© Copyright 2002-2006 City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii
Privacy Statement | Technical Support | Customer Service | Policy | Accessibility | Diversity Statement