The Zoning Office’s enforcement section has increased its activity substantially from previous years, reaching a total number of 329 inspections, out of which 85 resulted in violation orders and stiff fines.
According to the newly released Zoning Board and Office’s 2015 FY annual report, these included inspections of new constructions for required setbacks, parking, landscaping, height, driveways, and other zoning requirements. It also included monitoring of building and ground signs, public nuisances such as junk cars, as well as preventing the unlawful expansion of nonconforming uses.
According to Zoning administrator Therese Ogumoro, enforcement has been boosted aggressively, due to the increase in unpermitted and illegal construction activities, as well as an increased number of reports of violations from the community. Sign violations were the most numerous, followed by unpermitted construction activities without proper setbacks, parking, or landscaping, followed by public nuisances such as junk cars, trash materials, and hanging of clothes visible to main thoroughfares.
“Thanks to the efforts of our enforcement team headed by Mr. Yubert Alepuyo, our office was able to identify violations and make corrective actions as soon as possible,” said Ogumoro. According to her, such actions included courtesy notices and guides to lead violators through application processes with the submission of required documents. “Last fiscal year showed an aggressive performance by our enforcement to implement the law and we are continuing efforts in issuing courtesy notices and educating the public for proper compliance.”
However, the office still faces challenges from other developers who continue to refuse to comply. “In those cases, formal violation notices with up to $1,000 per day fines are issued, after which time they pay,” Ogumoro said.
She commends Alepuyo and staff for the excellent outfield inspections done to ensure compliance with the law and encourages continued focus on the current enforcement guidelines.
Zoning Board chair Diego C. Blanco also commends Zoning’s enforcement efforts and encourages continued open communication between the office and applicants for a better understanding of the law’s requirements.
“The result pays off as we all can now see many improvements on signs, building designs, landscaping, and parking. The board is asking the general public to adhere to the requirements of the Zoning Law and support our island’s growth towards orderly and aesthetic developments” Blanco said.
The Zoning Office continues to be aggressive on its enforcement activities and asks the public to comply with the Zoning Law accordingly. The office also reminds the community to communicate with the office at 234-9661 or visit the office on the 2nd floor of Joeten Dandan Commercial Building for any questions or concerns they may have on land uses. Any violation of the law may result in fines from $100 up to $1,000 per violation per day.