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    Saturday, November 16, 2019-7:47:33P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Delegation wants to expand tourist district in Chalan Kanoa

BY a vote of 17 to 2, the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation yesterday approved a local bill that expands tourist-resort zones in Chalan Kanoa.

Authored by delegation Chairman Ramon A. Tebuteb, Ind.-Saipan, House Local Bill 18-43 rezones 12 properties in Chalan Kanoa, from ‘village commercial’ to ‘tourist resort’ zones.

Currently, there are only seven properties near the beach in Chalan Kanoa that are designated as tourist resort zones — the four properties that Saipan Surfrider LLC was permitted to develop for its hotel resort, and three lots adjacent to the Aquarius Beach Hotel.

To maintain consistency in designating tourist zones in the area, Saipan Surfrider LLC requested the Commonwealth Zoning Board to designate as tourist resort zones, three more properties surrounding the company’s own.

In H.L.B. 18-43, the zoning board also recommended rezoning from ‘village commercial’ to ‘tourist resort’ nine more lots between Aquarius Beach and Saipan Surfrider LLC.

In its recommendation to the delegation, the zoning board said these lots now have commercial enterprises including retail outlets, restaurants, a construction hardware store and a soon-to-open beach bar and grill just south of Aquarius Hotel. The board said these areas could also be developed with other tourist-oriented and pedestrian-friendly uses.

Zoning Administrator Therese T. Ogumoro recommended that the Saipan delegation approve H.L.B. 18-43.

But Precinct 2 lawmakers, House Floor Leader Ralph S. Demapan, Covenant-Saipan and Rep. John Paul P. Sablan, Covenant-Saipan voted against the local measure.

In an interview after the session, Demapan said it does not make sense to him that establishments in the area will soon be limited to tourist-oriented businesses. Right now, the area, as ‘village commercial’ allows other developers.

He expressed the hope that the Legislature and the zoning board get back to undertaking due diligence in rezoning places on Saipan.

Sablan said the measure will also limit land owners’ choice of investors to deal with. Instead of having the opportunity to lease their property to any kind of businesses allowed in the village commercial designation, they will be forced to deal only with tourist-oriented investors.

Those who voted yes on the local bill were Tebuteb, Senate President Ralph DLG Torres, R-Saipan; Senate Floor Leader Ray N. Yumul, IR-Saipan; acting Speaker Francisco S. Dela Cruz, Ind.–Saipan; House Minority Leader George N. Camacho, R-Saipan; Sens. Pete P. Reyes; Reps. Anthony T. Benavente, Ind.-Saipan; Ralph N. Yumul, Ind.-Saipan; Tony R. Agulto, IR-Saipan; Tony P. Sablan, IR-Saipan; Mario Taitano, IR-Saipan; Roman C. Benavente, IR-Saipan; Janet U. Maratita, IR-Saipan; Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, IR-Saipan; Richard B. Seman, R-Saipan; Christopher D. Leon Guerrero, Covenant-Saipan; and Edmund S. Villagomez, Covenant-Saipan.

Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, IR-Saipan, and Rep. Felicidad T. Ogumoro, R-Saipan, were absent.