The Zoning board approved Thursday the appointment of Therese T. Ogumoro as the administrator for the Zoning Office.
Ogumoro has been holding the post in an acting capacity since July 2011 after the board terminated the services of former administrator Douglas T. Wyatt.
“Effective [May 4, Friday], I am ordering you to move from your office to the Zoning administrator office. Congratulations,” said board chair Diego Blanco.
Ogumoro said the Zoning Office is faced with challenges that she described as “very critical” to resolve.
“My greatest challenge is to implement a law which has widespread public support, but which cannot please every interest in every circumstance. I hope that the Legislature will recognize that the Zoning board and office are trying to put the needs of the community first and will work with us to meet the challenge,” Ogumoro said via email.
The Zoning Office is currently working on re-submitting its text amendments to the Saipan Zoning Law of 2008 to reflect the comments made during public hearings and based on sound zoning policy.
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial vetoed in March House Local Bill 17-26, authored by Rep. Stanley Torres, which proposed more changes to the law, in addition to those from the Zoning Office. In his decision, Fitial cited provisions that present “significant legal concerns,” specifically illegal “spot zoning.”
While she treats all her tasks as a priority, Ogumoro said that on top of the list is “to improve the quality of life for residents of Saipan” through zoning. She also vowed to look for alternative funding sources to augment the office’s finances, as well as work with lawmakers and the public to get a “new and improved” zoning law in place.
With Ogumoro’s appointment, the Zoning Office now needs a full-time Zoning planner-the position that Ogumoro used to hold. At least two applications have been received as of 4:30pm of May 3, Ogumoro said. The new employee is expected to be on board next month.
The Zoning Office also expects to hire a new administrative assistant, Berna Babauta, whose employment papers are in route, and new Zoning officer Jocelyn Aldan Kapileo, who starts her work today.