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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Zoning pins hopes on new lawmakers

The Commonwealth Zoning Board and the Zoning Office are generally optimistic about the prospect of having two zoning-related bills move forward when the 18th Legislature takes office in January 2013.

The two offices struggled with outgoing lawmakers in their proposed text amendments to the Saipan Zoning Law of 2008.

Zoning also hopes to revive a local bill that seeks to remove poker arcades from residential areas.

“It looks like the 18th Legislature will be easy on us this time,” said board chair Diego C. Blanco at Thursday’s meeting, citing that the incoming batch of lawmakers is composed of the “Noble 9” or those who voted yes on the impeachment bid against Gov. Benigno R. Fitial.

Board member Bruce Bateman said he met with some lawmakers last month and was told that they were unlikely to look at the proposed zoning bills at that time.

“That was then. Right now, we probably have an opportunity,” he added.

Vice chair Herman P. Sablan reminded his colleagues that the holiday season has kicked in, making it difficult to work on having the outgoing Legislature take action on the two proposed submissions.

Zoning administrator Therese T. Ogumoro said they would at least give it a try and approach the current lawmakers before the newly elected representatives take oath early next year.

“We hope the 18th Legislature will look into the removal of poker arcades as well as the text amendments as they’ve been gathering dust,” said Blanco.

Meanwhile, the Zoning Office will finally have a signboard outside its office at the Joeten Building in Dandan within the month.

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