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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lots near new hotel project to be designated ‘tourist resort’

More lots in Susupe are expected to be reclassified once the Legislature approves the recommendation of the Zoning Office to rezone 12 lots adjacent to a new hotel that will be developed on the site.

Zoning administrator Therese Ogumoro made the recommendation to rezone 12 lots in Susupe at the request of Saipan Surfrider LLC to reclassify three specific lots near its project site where it plans to develop a new hotel.

During the Zoning Board’s meeting on Dec. 27, the three lots—along with nine others—were decided to be rezoned from “village commercial” to “tourist resort.”

Zoning Board chair Diego Blanco said the board looks forward to seeing further development on the sites, including road pavements and traffic light improvements, by the developer.

Present at the meeting was Mike Sablan, Triple J Enterprises vice president for finance and administration, who expressed the company’s appreciation to the board’s decision on its proposal.

The board’s decision will now be transmitted to the Legislature for action.

According to Sablan, the three lots they want rezoned are located at the project site of the Surfrider Resort Spa and Beach. This is a 60-room hotel project at the site of the former Pacific Gardenia Hotel and the former Silver Hotel. 

“The Surfrider project area encompasses a total of seven separate lots, four of which are already zoned ‘tourist resort’ and three zoned ‘village commercial.’ For consistency among all seven lots, we requested rezoning the three VC lots to TR so that the entire project area is TR. Our recommendation was fully supported by the fee simple landowners of the three lots,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune, adding that the company has a long term leasehold interest in the lots.

As there are different zoning requirements for tourist resort and village commercial zone districts, Sablan explained that the consistency in zones would allow for better design integration of the various project components such as rooms, restaurants, parking, landscaping, swimming pool, beach club, spa, hotel gift shop, and other amenities. 

Pursuant to zoning law, the rezoning is subject to approval by the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, which is the next step in the process.

As to other development projects in the Susupe area, Sablan said the company doesn’t have any plans at this time. 

According to Therese Ogumoro, in the event some landowners contest the rezoning decision of the Legislature, the property can then be taken out from the list of rezoned “tourist resort” areas.

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