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    Friday, September 20, 2019-5:03:09P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Zoning Board approves restrictions on ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles

THE Saipan Zoning Board on Friday approved the proposed zoning regulations for “outdoor intensive amusement activities” such as all-terrain vehicles, utility vehicles and motorcycles.

Except for board vice chair Joe Ayuyu Jr., the other board members — chair Mariano Taitano, Ignacio Demapan, Frank Aguon, Patrick Reyes and Tatiana Babauta — voted in favor of the proposed regulations.

Ayuyu said “instead of going after them,” the ATV/UTV operators in areas affected by the regulations should be “grandfathered,” particularly those operating in Marpi where there are no residential areas.

Zoning Board legal counsel Chris Timmons said ATVs and UTVs are considered “outdoor intensive amusement” which, he added, is prohibited in the areas north of the island pursuant to the zoning law.

He said ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles must now confine their operations to improved trails on private lands.

“There are some now that are operating on the road as motor vehicles licensed by the Department of Public Safety so that would be different,” he added.

Taitano said ATV/UTV operators, based on the findings of the zoning administration, have been operating illegally since day one.

Zoning Board chair Mariano Taitano, left background, presides over a special meeting on Friday with the zoning staff led by administrator Therese Ogumoro and legal counsel Chris Timmons.  Photo by Junhan B. TodiñoZoning Board chair Mariano Taitano, left background, presides over a special meeting on Friday with the zoning staff led by administrator Therese Ogumoro and legal counsel Chris Timmons. Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

The zoning office will soon inform the operators to cease their operations, Taitano said, adding that the operators can lobby the Legislature to amend the law.

Zoning Administrator Therese Ogumoro said the Legislature may amend the law but “eventually they will go back to [the] zoning [office] and ask for comments.”

According to the regulations, the operation of ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles whose use is permitted will be limited to the time from three hours after sunrise until three hours before sunset.

Their operations will be limited to permitted and improved trails approved by the Division of Coastal Resources Management and maintained by the permittee.

“Such trails will be constructed from permeable materials designed to allow surface water to penetrate and drain without intensification or redirection of water flows.”

The regulations were published in the Commonwealth Register in April for public comments.

Ogumoro said with the board’s approval of the proposed regulations, these will be published again in the Commonwealth Register.