Zoning postpones approval of Garapan hotel project


The Saipan Zoning Board has put off approving an application for a four-story hotel in Garapan by H.S. Lee Construction due to issues with parking spaces, 15-foot setback, and entrance of unloading and loading zones.

Zoning Board chair Diego Blanco said they would be holding another meeting to discuss the concerns that were brought up at the May 8 public hearing.

The proposed application includes a four-story hotel with 60 rooms on Beach Road in Garapan, located north of Joeten Hafadai Shopping Center and across the I Love Saipan shopping center. The area is zoned as a tourist resort.

According to Zoning administrator Therese Ogumoro the applicant submitted a proposed plan for parking that included 78 parking spaces. The ground floor consists of 29 parking spaces, second floor consists of 25 spaces, and the third floor has 29 parking spaces.

Several people raised concerns over the proposed site for the hotel.

David Dougherty of Pacific Marine Enterprises Inc. said his property is adjacent to the proposed hotel and he is concerned about parking spaces.

“My concern as a future developer is the variance on the 30-some parking spaces and I have two complete floors of parking and have 66 units and that everybody is going to park on my lot,” Dougherty said.

He also noted that H.S. Lee Construction’s plan contains commercial spaces and a 15-foot setback from the property line.

I Love Saipan attorney Matthew Smith said they have similar concerns with parking and that it will be an issue.

“They are lacking from 32 to 52 spaces that are going to be necessary. The parking areas will be full and they will be using our parking space. Parking will be inadequate,” Smith said.

He said he supports the project for a new hotel but parking is going to be a problem.

KIMO Enterprises’ Lim Jae Yeul assured that parking would not be a problem. KIMO is the contractor for the planned hotel.

“The tourists will mostly be using buses so I don’t think that parking spaces would be a problem. That’s why we discuss it and that it is no problem. Not many tourists will use rental cars but charter buses,” Lim said.

He said the only problem is if other people come into the parking lot and park in their spaces.

DFS Saipan president Marian Aldan-Pierce said there isn’t any adequate space in front of the building’s entrance, based on the blueprint provided to Zoning.

Zoning board member Bruce Bateman noted said that the CNMI needs more hotel rooms due to the growing tourism industry.

“As part of the Marianas Visitors Authority, we are in need of hotel rooms for our tourists and this project will provide that,” Bateman said.

Bateman said Lim has to comply with the zoning law and told him to fix the plan and bring it back at their next public hearing.

A visibly frustrated Lim said he will work with the Zoning board and draft a new blueprint.

“I am going to change it this time. I just don’t understand,” Lim said.

Lim also told Saipan Tribune that Dougherty had tried to buy the lot from his client but had been rejected.

Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at jayson_camacho@saipantribune.com.

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