The recently hired zoning planner at the Saipan Zoning Office emphasized the need for sound zoning regulations and policies as they promote environmental protection while advancing sustainable economic development.
Maryann Borja-Arriola said yesterday that many people are under the impression that zoning is negative for the community when in fact it's the opposite, and this affirmative perception can only be achieved if the public becomes well-informed.
“It's easy to go by a misconception,” she said. “But in everything, it's always good to weigh if it's conducive or not. Zoning and controlled land use are important for our island.”
Borja-Arriola officially joined the Zoning Office on July 30, replacing Therese T. Ogumoro who was named administrator.
Prior to her new post, Borja-Arriola worked for two years as counselor at the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation where she advanced the rights of people with disabilities.
“When they announced the vacancy for a planner, I decided to step up the ladder,” she said.
Borja-Arriola earned her associate degree from the Northern Marianas College and majored in business administration at Argosy University in Hawaii. She is looking forward to finishing soon her master's in Management from Kaplan University.
Almost two months after being hired and Borja-Arriola still finds herself in the process of transitioning to her new role, working hard to familiarize herself with the Saipan Zoning Law of 2008 and subsequent amendments proposed by the Zoning Office to the Legislature, among other responsibilities.
She is also tasked to review conditional and major site development plan applications and to work with other agencies as part of a focus group dealing with climate change in the Northern Marianas.
Borja-Arriola said she is also committed to finding alternative sources of funding that would allow the Zoning Office to implement and enhance ongoing and future zoning programs.
Part of Borja-Arriola's strategic plan for the Zoning Office is to be at the helm of public outreach efforts such as conducting presentations and village meetings, to raise awareness of the importance of zoning.