Zoning board nominees urged to ‘preserve community’

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ZONING board members should be mindful of the community and the environment when making development decisions, according to some lawmakers who attended Tuesday’s Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations public hearing on three board nominees: Joe Ayuyu Jr., Perry Inos Jr., and Kevin C. Deleon Guerrero.

Sen. Vinnie Sablan emphasized to the nominees the importance of familiarizing themselves with the zoning laws and its numerous amendments as well as the Department of Public Lands Land Use Plan.

From left, Joe Ayuyu, Jr., Perry Inos, Jr., and Kevin C. Deleon Guerrero.

He added, however, that this is not always the case, and thus encouraged the nominees, should they be confirmed, to ensure that they not only listen to the concerns of the community, but also address them. Rep. Ralph Yumul, for his part, said based on his personal experience with the zoning board in the past, he was pleased with how the board addressed concerns raised by community members, including himself.

Rep. Sheila Babauta noted seven zoning permits that were approved in the past for the construction of hotels in her precinct that proved to be troublesome for residents in the area.

“That was very concerning to me and the community members because of the lack of basic infrastructure in the area: water, sewer, power. If we couldn’t even provide that for ourselves, how are we going to sustain major development like seven hotels?” she asked.

“This is very important to me because I believe that the environment that we live around impacts the family and the home. How you feel at the dinner table, how you perform in school, and how you contribute to your community is very important.”

The committee chair, Rep. Joel Camacho, shared his past experience as a zoning board member himself, as he encouraged each of the nominees to use their better judgement, and work cohesively with stakeholders.




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