Bid to put up paragliding business in Marpi is denied

The Zoning Board denied Wednesday a company’s application for permit to operate a powered paragliding business on a private land along Banzai Cliff Road in Marpi.

Citing the law that prohibits paragliding activity in Marpi, Zoning Board director Mariano Taitano recommended denying the application of Top Sheng Investment LLC during a public hearing at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.

All other board members—Jose Ayuyu Jr., Patrick Reyes, Tatiana Babauta, Ignacio Demapan, and Francisco Aguon—agreed with Taitano.

The Zoning Board directors heard Top Sheng Investment LLC’s request shortly before their election of officers.

In a separate interview, Taitano, who was later voted board chairman, said that a business activity such as paragliding in that area of Marpi is prohibited under the law as the place is within the rural district.

Taitano said he reviewed the statute and the board’s legal counsel, assistant attorney general Christopher Timmons, confirmed the prohibition.

However, Taitano would like to see that kind of business activity for tourists and expressed sympathy for the businessman who wanted to invest in the project.

He said this is why he urged Rep. Sheila Babauta (Ind-Saipan), whose precinct covers the area, to have the law amended to allow such a business to operate and thus attract tourists to come and visit the island.

Top Sheng Investment, which is composed mainly of investors from Taiwan, is planning to invest $96,000 for its paragliding project on 1,000 square meters of land. Yueping Guo is listed as the lessee of the property. Richard Peng is the contact person of Top Sheng Investment LLC.

In an earlier interview, Peng said they chose to set up the business in Marpi as paragliders need to stay away from the airport and avoid intruding into private airspace.

Peng said their planned route is along the coastline, but they will see to it that they will not disturb tourists on the ground.

He said powered paragliding will make the sky in Marpi more colorful.

According to Wikipedia, powered paragliding, also known as paramotoring or PPG, is a form of ultralight aviation where the pilot wears a motor on their back which provides enough thrust to take off using a paraglider. It can be launched in still air, and on level ground, by the pilot alone—no assistance is required.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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