House scraps multiple Zoning public hearing bill

The House of Representatives voted last week to scrap a bill that mandates multiple zoning public hearings

Following recommendations of the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee, led by chair Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan), the House voted to kill Rep. Vinson Sablan’s (Ind-Saipan) House Bill 20-06 during a session on Tinian.

H.B. 20-06 seeks to mandate the Commonwealth Zoning Board to hold at least three public hearings for rezoning requests, something members of the JGO see as a waste of resources given the lengthy amount of time from the initial announcement of the public hearing.

Author Sablan, Rep. Greg M. Sablan Jr (R-Saipan), vice speaker Janet Maratita (R-Saipan), and Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) voted against shelving the bill, resulting in a vote of 13-5.

At the committee level, the members voted 3-2 to shelve the measure.

Zoning told the JGO committee that holding more than one public hearing would strain their resources.

“…Three public hearing will not guarantee participants and it might provide for an avenue for participants to wait until the last day to attend,” stated the Zoning comments according to Blanco.

“[Zoning] said one public hearing announced through media and through signages posted 300 feet around the affected property for 30 days is sufficient,” he said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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