Is workforce housing coming to Yigo? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Is workforce housing coming to Yigo?

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Yet another application has been filed with the Guam Land Use Commission for a zone change along the Back Road to Andersen AFB in Yigo. One local company is proposing to build temporary workforce housing for the military buildup.

Yigo resident Roland Taitano grew up along the Back Road, where his family has been living here for decades. In the last several years, he's seen more and more activity and noise, most especially with construction trucks traveling along this thoroughfare. With news that a local company hopes to build workforce housing near the Yigo Raceway Park and the road near Perez Acres in the island's northernmost village, Taitano says he's concerned.

"If they put H-2 workers there, even the housing, even if it'll be temporary, there will still be a lot of commotion coming from that area and it's a long drive back and forth from Mangilao to here. So imagine if there will be traffic. Cars will be backed up," he said.

An application was filed with the GLUC for a zone change. Local company Pacific International is hoping to build workforce housing for approximately 1,000 H-2 workers. The company's chief executive officer, Jerry Kramer, told KUAM News, "We feel that the place is well suited and we put in for the exemption certificates and the zone change. It's being handled by Felix Benavente and we have a pre-cast concrete system."

The company plans on using Waffle-Crete, which is a precast concrete building system that can be disassemble and reassembled into different structures. Kramer says once the buildup is complete, the structures could be converted into individual homes.

With an application submitted to the Guam Land Use Commission, Kramer says his company is still in a design phase. "We're going through the permitting phase and we're talking to some potential contractors," he noted. "And frankly, we'll adjust our schedule around a real demand. That way we could make an arrangement that we know will be able to utilize the facility."

Kramer couldn't say when construction may begin and how long the project will take to be completed. "It's slightly premature to set a date because as you know, the actually military construction work is coming along slowly, so we'll make those decisions probably a few months down the road," he said.

This piece of property is several miles away not only from the Yigo Raceway Park, but Pagat Village, where the military hopes to put a firing range.

In the meantime, Taitano says with more people walking through his street to go to the store, he says he's afraid with the influx of construction workers roaming the area, it will cause major issues. "If they're planning on putting it in the villages, even if there's not a lot of traffic, of course people are going to get mad and everything is going cause havoc. People are going to be protesting a lot. People are going to get mad and there will be complaints," he explained.

A public hearing on the application has not been scheduled yet.

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