Let 2010 be the year we hold leaders to their word
by John Davis
GUAM - Let 2010 be the year we hold leaders to their word.
For every year that goes by and for every new year we welcome, the issues remain the same. In 2010, there will be more promises to fix financial, social and economical issues that plague our island, but will our leaders deliver? I certainly hope so, at least for landowners who might lose property so a road can be built through it.
Younex Corporation is planning to construct a 200 million dollar, 18,000 bed H-2 barracks they call a "workers village" for skilled laborers making their way to Guam to assist with the construction phase of the military buildup. On top of leasing Chamorro Land Trust property for commercial use, the private development corporation now wants to have land re-zoned so a road to the workers village can be built.
The road to the H-2 barracks will be at least 100 feet wide, about as wide as Marine Corps Drive is now. In order for the road to be constructed, Younex must be allowed to encroach on privately owned property, but the private landowners aren't buying into it.
First off, accommodating 18 thousand people, whether it be for a short or long period of time is a big task and shouldn't be looked at as just bed space. There are at least 17 hotels on Guam and let's say each hotel has 500 rooms to accommodate 500 people (assuming everyone is sleeping in a different bed). The total amount of rooms these 17 hotels can give up causing a max in capacity for the hotel totals 8,500 rooms or beds. If those numbers were accurate in terms of comparing beds to beds and not rooms to beds, Guam would need to build another `8 hotels with 500 beds a piece to be able to accommodate the projected figures of housing 18 thousand H2-B workers on Guam.
1) 17 Hotels on Guam x 500 beds = 8,500 beds.
2) 18,00 beds need by Younex - 8,500 beds currently available = 9,500 beds still needed.
3) 9,500 beds needed / the 500 bed capacity standard = 18 more hotels with 500 bed capacity need to be built.
The first concern landowners have with this particular development isn't just about the road, but the process. Over a month ago, the Guam Land Use Commission discussed the issue during their regulatory meeting. The request to re-zone the surrounding property for the construction of the road was approved by commissioners, but they might have skipped an important step. According to landowners, they weren't given fair warning or given a chance to show up to the meeting to voice their concerns. To top it off, landowners say the GLUC didn't even follow the open government law, which requires the GLUC to notify the public of the upcoming meeting at least 5 days before the meeting, with a final notice of the meeting to be issued 48 hours prior. If the GLUC did not follow the open government law, they will be required to redo the entire meeting, which means any action taken during their December meeting becomes void. That means the approval of the zone change approval will also be void until the laws a followed by issuing proper notices to the public. If the GLUC can prove it followed the open government law by producing the copy of the advertisement indicating the December 10th meeting, then there's no harm or foul on behalf of the GLUC and the ball then rolls into the legislature's court.
I'm not so sure lawmakers are going to make it any easier for this project to proceed either. One senator already informed landowners that Public Hearing would be held on the final approval of the zone change, but according to existing public law, if lawmakers choose not to act on the GLUC approval of the zone change, it will automatically kick in as an approved zone change. Will they act? I sure hope so considering this is the beginning of an election year. To top it all off, land issues are amongst the most dear to the island community and if lawmakers choose inaction, the people will be upset and what happens when lawmakers upset the people? They get replaced. What are your thoughts?