Settlement reached in Lada Estates case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Settlement reached in Lada Estates case

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - It was just recently a forum was held about the need for more affordable housing on Guam. Well, a development in Dededo that's been long stalled in court is finally coming to a conclusion. As a result, the proposed Lada Estates affordable homes project finally becoming a reality.

The site of the proposed Lada Estates Affordable Homes Project has been vacant for so long it's now virtually a trash dump. Nearby resident Ernie Aguon says the area is worse than ever, saying, "So people that pass by here would say it's an alright place to dump."

The development stalled in 1990 when Maeda Pacific completed the first phase of infrastructure. In 2004 a dispute over construction costs between Maeda and the Guam Housing Corporation, which owns the land, landed the parties in court. Almost 12 years later president of Maeda Pacific Thomas Nielson says they may finally be able to turn the dump into a housing division. "And I think we have finally come to an agreement here where the ultimate goal of the project will be accomplished where sooner or later hopefully there will be home for the moderate to lower income people," he said.

That's good news for resident at the adjacent Lada Gardens Howard Page, who said, "It's kind of sad it would be a good development for Dededo, I do believe."

For such a complicated and drawn out legal battle the agreement is really quite simple, says Nielson. "The deal will be we will be given the right to build these homes and hopefully we will be able to recoup our money through the sales of these homes," he said.

But after years of looking out his front door at an abandoned lot filled with trash, Page is skeptical, saying when asked he such gives him hope this will finally be settled, "Hopefully, but you know how courts go - it will probably be a little longer probably a couple years before they settle."

Not so, says Cynthia Ecube, attorney for the Guam Housing Corporation. "The agreement has already been entered into the issue purposes for the hearing is for the judge to approve or disapprove of the agreement," she explained.

If approved by the judge work could be begin immediately, says Nielson, adding, "There is some clean up work as you say you have been out there, there is a lot of damage but give it 3 or 4 months to clean it up get a new plan going I think in six months they could start building homes out there."

And if the judge doesn't approve of the agreement? "If it appears the court does not approve the agreement between Maeda and GHC, then the next step would be to set it on the trial calendar," noted Ecube. Something residents like Aguon don't want to see happen. He says not only is the area a growing eyesore, saying, "But this is the most critical time now it's been just been more trash now."

It's become a possibly deadly playground. Aguon said, "I see a lot of kids play here and this place we have man hole covers this large and what happens is its like 12 feet down and if a kid falls we might not know until it's just a skeleton."

Now after a dispute that lasted over a decade it seems Maeda Pacific and Guam Housing Corporation may finally be close to reaching a resolution both parties are due in court at the beginning of august for a hearing on the settlement.

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