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    Tuesday, December 11, 2018-7:08:26P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Zoning asks zip-line co. to comply with requirements

THE Zoning Board has advised Saipan Zip Lines to withdraw its application for a conditional use permit and comply with the zoning requirements.

On Thursday, the board headed by chairman Diego Blanco did not approve the application for a conditional use permit of Jason Shankweiler who wants to operate a zip-line amusement activity in Marpi.

Blanco noted several “assumptions” in the zip-line operator’s letter, adding that Shankweiler failed to include a parking area or a restroom for his customers.

“I support the project 1,000 percent,” but said the operator should comply with the zoning requirements.

The other board members also shared Blanco’s position.

Board member Bruce Bateman, who is also the Marianas Visitors Authority marketing manager, said MVA needs new attractions like the zip-line.

Zoning Administrator Therese Ogumoro said the applicant told her that the activity doesn’t require a parking area because the clients will be transported by a shuttle bus to the take-off area.

Zoning Board members Joe Ayuyu Jr. and Elizabeth Balajadia confer with Ron Hodges concerning the zipline project.  Photo by Junhan B. TodinoZoning Board members Joe Ayuyu Jr. and Elizabeth Balajadia confer with Ron Hodges concerning the zipline project. Photo by Junhan B. Todino

The clients may also use the rest room facilities at the Last Command Post, she added.

But Blanco said an infrastructure developer is required to establish facilities such as parking spaces for customers.

He said the zip-line company wants to cater not only to tourists but also to local residents.

Assistant Attorney General Kate Fuller, the Zoning Board’s legal counsel, said parking space is required under the zoning code.

“I am, highly in favor of the project…but you need parking, you need restrooms,” she added.

Shankweiler assured the board that he will comply with the requirements although he also noted the issue of water and electricity at the site.

Pam Brown, legal counsel for the zip-line operator, asked the board how a private developer can develop parking spaces in a public area.

Blanco said the applicant should lease public land from the Department of Public Lands.

Fuller said the applicant should present a design plan for the project including the estimated size of a parking space for customers.

But Brown said the developer cannot lease public property without getting a conditional use permit from the Zoning Board.

Jack Torres, who testified against the project, said the zip-line operator got a conditional letter of approval without a letter of agreement from the Department of Land and Natural Resources or MVA.

A company which he said he is representing was required to get the approval of DLNR and MVA.