Public Lands Secretary Marianne Tergeyo would be leading a multi-agency team that would survey Pagan in January. DPL had already solicited requests for proposal from several contractors for vessels that would bring them to one of the CNMI’s northernmost islands.
Personnel from the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Department of Public Safety, the Superior Court, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and Land Registration surveyors would join Teregeyo and some of her DPL staff.
Court personnel need to join since there are some parcels of land on Pagan that have existing lawsuits and cases.
“The intention of the trip is for agricultural village homesteads in Pagan. We will have somebody from the courts since there’s a case down there so they needed to join us. DPL will be teaming up with Land Registration in doing the surveys,” Teregeyo said.
She said that DPL had also issued agricultural permits on Tinian after doing homestead inspections on the island in August and September. “They have not done any inspections in about 15 years on Tinian. So we’ve done homestead inspections and sent a lot of letters to Tinian residents.”
There are also about 40 lands on Saipan that have been revoked and have been appealed that are ready for redistribution. “These are different from the last time because now the hearing officer has heard the cases and some of them were reconsidered and some were not.”
Crack down on encroachers
Teregeyo said their collection increased by about $1 million in fiscal year 2016 after going up against land encroachers. “Collections in antitrust lawsuits are not yet included. There are a lot of businesses and companies that are building on public lands and we are aggressively going against encroachers.”
A few months ago, DPL identified nine land encroachment cases. She said some businesses built structures 12 to 15 feet from their buildings.
“We’ve gone out and appraised the area and billed them. Some of them settled, while some we filed encroachment cases in court. The recent one was a beachside property that extended their [establishment] so we filed a case in court.”
Teregeyo said that 11—individuals or corporations—that submitted RFPs for land use in developing these properties. Seven of the 11 are for quarry operations while four are for other property development. This was the first time that seven have applied for quarry operations, showing that there’s a huge demand for it.
The Saipan Country Club also has a new operator with plans to convert the nine-hole golf course behind McDonald’s on Middle Road into another project.
DPL also received $1 million from the Legislature for the land use plan where an RFP is already being ran.
There’s still no update yet on the planned take over of Best Sunshine International, Ltd. on Mariana Resort & Spa’s 161-hectare property in Marpi. Mariana Resort’s lease will expire in 2018.