After deferring its decision on a Garapan hotel project last May 8 due to issues on parking spaces, a 15-foot setback, and the front that had no space for dropping off customers, the Saipan Zoning Board finally approved the project after the developer made major changes.
The Garapan hotel project is being proposed by Sung Soo Lim under H.S. Lee Construction and represented by KIMO Enterprises’ Jae Yeul Lim.
Zoning administrator Therese Ogumoro said the applicant submitted a “revised” plan for the project.
The revision transformed the project from a four-story hotel with 60 rooms to a three-story hotel with 36 rooms and commercial spaces. The proposed project is located on Beach Road in Garapan, north of Joeten Hafadai Shopping Center and across the I Love Saipan shopping center.
The new plan also includes 50 parking spaces, down from the original 78 parking spaces. The ground floor consists of 29 parking spaces and the second floor will have 21.
Lim said they have discussed the front side issue with the Department of Public Lands and, according to him, they told him that they could use the space.
Zoning Board vice chair Gus Kaipat asked Lim if the drop off zone would require a large bus. Lim said that they would be using a 20-passenger bus.
House Vice Speaker Francisco Dela Cruz (IR-Saipan) said he fully supports the project and that Hyun Sook Lee was one of the first Koreans to arrive on Saipan and had been a resident voter until his passing.
“Although he has passed away, we are still seeing development through his wife, management team, and through his company that I ask the board to pass the project because we need this,” Dela Cruz said.
David Dougherty of Pacific Marine Enterprises Inc. said he has two adjacent properties to the proposed project and that his only concern is the 15-foot setback that was raised at the May 8 meeting.
Ogumoro said the applicant included an application on a variance for the setback, which allows an 8-foot setback.
Zoning board member Bruce Bateman said he is actually disappointed with the reduction in the size of the project.
“I am actually disappointed that you [H.S. Lee Construction] come back with a smaller project in order to meet the requirements. We might be down 1 percent [in visitor arrivals] for this month but I am telling you we’re turning people away. I wish you would’ve returned with a six-floor structure and all the parking spaces that was needed,” Bateman said.
The applicant is also required to maintain landscaping and to screen parking lot service areas, storage areas, and trash bins away from public view.
Zoning’s planner Maryann B. Arriola also stated that the applicant should not harm and endanger the safety of the public, comply with the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality requirements, provide the Zoning board with traffic analysis and management plan that includes mitigating the traffic within three months after issuance of the conditional use permit, comply with requirements of other regulatory agencies, and should apply for site permit before any installations.