Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Zoning Law Open for Comment

The Zoning Board has requested comment on a new draft of the Saipan Zoning Law. According to the Saipan Tribune, there will be an open house on Monday, October 15, 2007 from 8:30am to 8:00pm at the American Memorial Park Visitor’s Center Auditorium, and then a Public Hearing on October 25, at 6:30pm at the Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe. I took a look at the new law, and I’m very impressed by the effort put forward by the Board. I like the emphasis on landscaping: especially the provisions for sidewalks and plantings. There are only two small concerns I have. For one, the requirement that Beach Road buildings have 75% windows facing the frontage may be excessive for this climate, even with covered walkways. I like the idea, and it is a beautiful look; I just can’t help but think of the owners and their power bills. I also like the sections which address nuisances and enforcement. The only thing I would add here is that there are other municipalities which have added criminal penalties to a willful failure to accept a citation issued by a code inspector. Also, it might be a good idea to include a catchall enforcement clause so that other departments with powers over dwellings (such as condemnation, for example) continue to be able to independently enforce their rules. Here’s an example: Enforcement by other means. Nothing contained in this division shall prohibit the municipality from enforcing its codes or ordinances by any other means.

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