Business in their backyard: neighbors fed up - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Business in their backyard: neighbors fed up

by Lannie Walker

Guam - "Love thy neighbor" is a saying residents in one neighborhood in Dededo say is not being followed by one neighbor in particular.  "This is an R1 zone - the map in indict is a R1 type of zone, said Noel Camaganacan, adding, "basically he made it into almost a construction zone."  He calls it a case of the "runaway contractor".

He says across the street from his house a company named, P&E Construction has turned a once quiet street into a bustling business center.  "Where most of other contractors are in M2 zones where they can house their vehicles and trucks...he had vehicles contractor vehicles, trucks dump trucks coming through he going around in circle," he added.

In his circle of neighbors, another problem exists: flooding, which has come with the rainy season.  Virginia Dimalanta told KUAM News, "When the water will rain all the water will go then down and then the truck passing by of course we are disturbed about that...they are painting and welding my daughter has asthma and sometimes when it rains it goes down to my place and it is all flooded up to my knee so my daughter cannot play outside."

Lea Balnonado lives directly across the street from P&E Construction and says she brought her complaint to Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares, who sent her vice-mayor out to investigate.  "Through that investigation we found it was through a neighbor doing construction on his property that is causing obstruction for water to drain the way it usually does," she explained.

We decided to investigate further and went to speak with Jesus Ninete, section manager for building permits and inspection at the Department of Public Works, to see if P&E had the proper permit for their operation.  "There is no record here that shows that there is an application filed by P&E," he said.  "And I went all the way back to January of this year.  Based on our records, I don't think we ever issued a permit."

Ninete agreed to take the investigation further, recalling, "What I can do is sent an inspector to go there and take a look at the situation, and if it warrants a notice of violation, we will do it."  And that's exactly what he did.  The next morning Antonio Bernades, DPW building inspector, arrived on the scene.  When asked his general assessment, he said, "One is most important he don't have a permit guarantee."  Secondly, Bernandes says the business just doesn't belong in a residential neighborhood, noting, "This is residential area only one family no construction company allowed...he is doing a business in residential area which is a no-no for the zoning law."

Bernades says the owner will be cited and any further work at the site halted.  He says DPW relies on tips like those from this group of neighbors, but for the residents the issue goes outside their property lines. 

Neighbors there say the issue is not just about their neighborhood but about any neighborhood where residents feel their rights are being washed away.

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