Chalan Pago residents voice concern on rezoning bills - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Chalan Pago residents voice concern on rezoning bills

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - A pair of bills that would bypass the Guam Land Use Commission to rezone land in Chalan Pago had a public hearing on Tuesday night. And not everyone was so keen at the possibility of having an area like the Harmon Industrial Park in what is known as "a mostly residential village".

"We say NO," announced Janine Guevara. "An M-1 Zone will allow for any or all of these businesses to come in and ruin the peacefulness of our community - a community we have invested in with a lot of hard-earned dollars, sweat and tears."Representing the Father Duenas Memorial School Parent Advisory Board, the Infant of Prague and Sisters of Mercy, Guevara spoke at last night's public hearing at the Chalan Pago Community Center in opposition to Bills 334 and 335 as it would negatively impact thousands of children, parents, teachers and staff members.

The bills propose to rezone two lots in the central village from a 'Resident-Single Dwelling' to an 'M-One' or 'Light Industrial Zone', which could allow for the opening of automobile shops, warehouses, lumber yards and temporary workforce housing. However for the lot owner John Salas, the proposed plans are necessary as businesses continue to grow and expand nearby.

"As these commercial and multiple residential establishments multiply, support facilities such as warehouses and other ancillary facilities become needed as well," he said. Salas said he wouldn't build an industrial park or junk yard but rather a senior citizens center.

As for John's sister Louise Salas Harper and her husband Don Harper, they requested for the rezoning to move her business, International Consolidated Contracting. They add the property is family land and they have no intention to sell or use the properties in a haphazard way but rather handing it down to their children. Don said, "We're not looking to build an unknown warehouse or any unknown building, we're simply looking to move our business that is located down the road from where its at now, in a rented warehouse that costs this family $60,000 a year, to family land, that's it."

The Salas family submitted a petition of signatures for the rezoning not only from Chalan Pago residents, but the entire island as their plans would benefit all. She didn't sign the petition nor attended the hearing in her official capacity as director of the Department of Public Works, but Joanne Brown, a longtime Chalan Pago resident says although she is related to the Salas family, she had to oppose both bills as it could possibly affect the quality of life for residents.

"Once you rezone this property, I can say that I'm only going to build a small warehouse, but once I have that zoning, I could do all sorts of things, I could construct working housing there and is that something we want I want to live next," she said. "I think there's a majority of us who doesn't want to live next to that."

Brown meanwhile also told senators she was against lawmakers bypassing the GLUC, something Guevara agreed with. "When you write bills like 334 and 335, you wipeout entirely the purpose of the Guam Land Use Commission. This commission whose purpose was put in place by law - the same law that you swore you would 'well and faithfully support' when you write bills like 334 and 335, you take away that commission's ability to regulate and protect the constituents in the surround area," she said.

The Salas family in their written testimony stated they chose the legislative process because they don't have the money capitol to afford close to $35,000 in consultant fees to process their rezoning request through the GLUC and could be a lengthy process.

Meanwhile, Ordot-Chalan Pago Mayor Jessy Gogue didn't take a stance, but wanted to wait until all details were finalized. The legislative committee is still seeking public comment. 

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