Bill to ease land deals introduced


Rep. Vinson F. Sablan (Ind-Saipan) introduced a bill that would aid the CNMI with its land transactions, especially the use of public lands. House Bill 20-73 is an act that would amend Title 2, Division 4, Chapter 1 of the Commonwealth Code.

HB 20-73 would insert new sections that would restrict rezoning of public lands until the comprehensive land use plans is completed.

Sablan said the CNMI has seen a rapid growth in development with the entry of new investments in the last couple of years. “We have all seen the increased presence of investors in our island. With this, follows an influx of many types of development.”

“It is vital that we are strategic with our land dealings especially on public land. We have seen many requests for certain properties to be re-zoned for certain uses. This should not be a common practice in the absence of a strategic land use plan.”

Sablan mentioned Section 105 (f) of Public Law 15-2, which transferred the Marianas Public Lands Authority’s obligations and responsibilities to the Department of Public Lands.

Section 105 (f) states that “No later than one year after the Effective Date of this Act (Feb. 22, 2006), [DPL] shall adopt and promulgate a comprehensive land use plan with respect to public lands. During development of the plan, the secretary shall report the substance and the progress of the comprehensive land use plan to the advisory board and regularly keeping them up to date. Before approving the plan, the secretary shall consult with the advisory board…”

Sablan said he had been aware that the request for proposal process had been completed and the comprehensive land use plan is underway. “It is vital that the plan is in place and adopted before we proceed with future public land dealings especially re-zoning of public lands.”

“This may contradict the strategic findings in the development of the plan and set us back further in adopting an official land use plan.”

HB 20-73 finds the continued rezoning of public lands “would hinder DPL’s ability to effectively carry out the intent of their land use plans and inhibit their ability to ensure that public lands will be used for the betterment of the Commonwealth.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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