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Monday, April 21, 2014

CPA presses public domain for potential seaport expansion

The Commonwealth Ports Authority wants easy access to two public lands it is eyeing for potential seaport expansion and is urging the Department of Public Lands to consider conveying those lots to CPA.

Executive director MaryAnn Lizama disclosed that CPA wants to have authority on the center properties on Industrial Drive and the Able Dock, areas that are viable for seaport activities.

During Friday’s board meeting, Lizama disclosed that a company has already been given a permit to use the area south and adjacent to Able Dock but the lease agreement has yet to be finalized. She did not specify the name of the company.

“[DPS Secretary Pete] Tenorio advised us that he will go back and take a look at the area that CPA has been asking for and will exclude it, or apply conditions to meet CPA’s needs in the lease with the company that has the permit,” Lizama told the board.

Another property in question is the Industrial Drive where Lizama also received similar assurances from Tenorio when the two met to discuss the issue.

“[For this area[ I was advised that DPL will look into the areas that CPA is asking for and agrees that the properties will prove useful for expanding port related activities. He advised that he will be meeting with the management after the holidays,” she added.

Seaports facilities chair Benigno Sablan disclosed that CPA continues to dispute the permits/leases granted to these two companies because “CPA needs to maintain” the sites.

Sablan has directed the CPA management to communicate with DPL and perhaps ask to hold off the ground leases until CPA’s requests are satisfied.

Sablan revealed that CPA has been sending feelers on these issues since previous DPL administrations, to no avail. “Hopefully, we can now sit down with the [new DPL secretary],” added Sablan.

According to CPA board acting chair Thomas Villagomez, the request for public domain on the two sites has been standing for about eight years now.

He said that it’s about time for the ports authority to seek the assistance of the Legislature for the speedy resolution of the case. Saipan Tribune learned that anything above five hectares has to seek the governor’s approval and the Legislature in granting public domain.

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