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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rezoning of lots near planned hotel OK’d

Saipan lawmakers passed yesterday a local bill rezoning from “village commercial” to “tourist resort” 12 lots adjacent to a new hotel that Saipan Surfrider LLC will develop at the site of the former Pacific Gardenia Hotel and the former Silver Hotel in Chalan Kanoa.

Rep. Ray Tebuteb’s (Ind-Saipan) House Local Bill 18-43 now goes to the governor for action.

Saipan Surfrider LLC plans to develop a 60-room Surfrider Resort Spa and Beach in the area.

Zoning administrator Therese T. Ogumoro answered questions of members of the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation about the proposed rezoning, prior to the voting.

The two “no” votes were from Reps. Ralph Demapan (Cov-Saipan) and John Paul Sablan (Cov-Saipan), both from Precinct 2, where the hotel development is located.

Demapan, in an interview after the local bill’s passage, said “it doesn’t make sense” to rezone the area to a “tourist resort” when there is a big hardware store and other types of businesses in the area.

He said his “no” vote is also based on the concerns of residents in the area.

“What I would hope to happen is perhaps we should get back again and do more diligence and inquire more, and make it [local bill] a better product rather than what it is,” he said.

Of the 17 Saipan delegation members who voted “yes,” two said they were doing so “with reservation.” They were Reps. Mario Taitano (Ind-Saipan) and Christopher Leon Guerrero (Cov-Saipan). Absent were House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) and Rep. Felicidad Ogumoro (R-Saipan).

Triple J Enterprises earlier said the Surfrider project encompasses a total of seven separate lots, four of which are already zoned “tourist resort” and three are zoned “village commercial.” For consistency among all seven lots, they asked that all the lots be rezoned “tourist resort.”

The company said consistency in zones would allow for better design integration of project components such as rooms, restaurants, parking, landscaping, swimming pool, beach club, spa, hotel gift shop, and other amenities.

Confirmed

In other news, the Saipan delegation confirmed by an 8-0 vote yesterday the governor’s appointment of Joe Erra Ayuyu Jr. to serve on the Commonwealth Zoning Board.

Acting governor Jude U. Hofschneider is set to administer the oath of office to Ayuyu this afternoon on Capital Hill.

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