Zoning board nominees: Let’s go digital

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WHEN asked to share their respective visions for the Commonwealth, the governor’s zoning board nominees, Joe Ayuyu Jr., Perry Inos Jr., and Kevin C. Deleon Guerrero said they believe it is time to catch up with the times and go digital.

A recent public hearing on their nominations discussed, among other issues, the current pandemic and how it could affect development projects and the zoning board process.

Ayuyu, who will serve a second six-year term on the board if confirmed, said: “We do have public hearings, and the office does really well. One thing though is that I am into digital stuff… so I am open to other ideas.”

Inos said: “I have done a little research myself. I have looked at different jurisdictions, at how they have implemented the zoning process. Why just do paper? Why can’t it be digital?”

He added, “Why can’t we have a platform where they look at a map, the map pops up with the zone, and the zone will say what is allowed and so on and so forth.”

Also discussed was social media and how it can facilitate discussions.

“Social media can be to the detriment or to the benefit of any project,” Inos said. “It can be used as a platform for a lot of grandstanding that may not be addressing the issues at hand, so maybe a possible repository for comments with a built-in feedback loop, for example, can be used.”

Deleon Guerrero, for his part, said, “I like the idea of using social media to reach out to people. However, social media is a double-edged sword. I don’t think anybody should be allowed to be anonymous if they are going to enter a platform in which they are going to try and discuss what they would like to see developed in the CNMI. I think you should have your full name, and be held accountable for your ideas.”

The three nominees said in addition to digitizing, there should be continuous effort to reach out to community members directly to encourage them to be more involved in the zoning process and voice their opinions on how their community should develop.

The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations recommended the confirmation of Ayuyu, Inos, and Deleon Guerrero.


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