Ignacio Demapan looks forward to begin work with the Commonwealth Zoning Board so he could review the backlog of applications caused by the board having no quorum for almost two months.
The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation unanimously confirmed Demapan’s appointment to the board during yesterday’s session at the House of Representatives chamber on Capital Hill. All 17 members present voted in the affirmative.
The Zoning Board had seven members but failed to reach a quorum after board chair Diego Blanco resigned early this year. Mariana Taitano, Joe Ayuyu Jr., and Patrick Reyes are the current members before Demapan’s appointment and confirmation.
“With my confirmation, there’s now a quorum. There are seven seats on the board and [there are] four of us now,” said Demapan. “I’m glad that I’ve got confirmed finally. I would like to extend my respect and appreciation to the governor and lt. governor.”
The SNILD’s Judiciary and Governmental Operations will schedule another public meeting to hear the community’s opinion on Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ two other nominees to the board, Tatiana Babauta and former representative Francisco C. Aguon.
Torres earlier withdrew Vicente Sablan’s nomination.
Demapan expressed concerns about the backlog, saying he supports development and investments.
“It is my intention to have a meeting with the other board members so that we could address the backlog of issues and applications,” said Demapan, who is a former representative in the 4th Legislature under the leadership of former speaker Vicente Sablan.
He said that addressing all pending applications must be the first priority as the islands continue to recover from the devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu.
“I would like to assist the investors who have pending applications. At the same time, I would also like to assist the general public to sustain our culture and traditions. I would like to make sure we address the issues with respect to zoning regulations and try to assist the applicants.”
Demapan brings to the board his years of being a licensed real estate broker. “I’m a resident executive for the [CNMI] Office of Indigenous Affairs Office and I am also a licensed real estate broker. So, I am pretty well eligible with respect to issues [on zoning and development].”
Torres said getting a quorum for the Zoning Board is important for the CNMI’s economy. “We have a lot of recovery issues that needs to move forward.”
“There are a lot of business that are asking for permits and, of course, nothing moves without zoning. So, I urge that we have these nominees [be confirmed] and that they [SNILD] act on it.”
Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang also showed his support for Demapan. “I’ve known him personally. He can be trusted and depended on. You can rely on him as far as work ethic is concerned.”