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Last updateWed, 16 Oct 2019 12am

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    Monday, October 14, 2019-7:43:18A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Governor signs bill to allow hospitals in village-commercial areas

GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Wednesday signed into law a local measure that allows hospitals in areas designated by the Saipan zoning law as village-commercial.

Authored by Rep Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero, House Local Bill 21-10 is now Saipan Local Law 21-9.

Ralph Torres

Acting Speaker John Paul Sablan, who witnessed the signing of the bill, said: “The signing of the local law today does not outright permit anyone or any developer to build a hospital in the villages. They still need to go through an extensive zoning process. They still need to turn in an application, and the zoning office will have to conduct a public hearing before the zoning board can even decide on the permit application.”

Sablan said he doesn’t have a problem with having a new hospital provided that the concerns of the people living in the area are addressed. These issues may include noise, traffic congestion, nuisance, pollution and other concerns.

“It is the job of the zoning office to conduct a public hearing for the people who live nearby. Nonetheless, all that the bill signed today does is just adding hospital to the list of what can be allowed in a village-commercial district,” he added.

S.L.L. 21-9 will allow an investor to apply for a zoning board permit to convert Mango Resort in As Perdido into a specialty referral hospital.

The “privately operated medical campus [aims] to provide the CNMI population with a range of medical services [that will help] reduce the need for off-island medical referral care.”