Land Use Commission blasts CCU's development moratorium
by John Davis
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Consolidated Commission on Utilities' decision to implement a moratorium came as a complete surprise to the Guam Land Use Commission, tasked with approving new development projects across the island. The agency in a meeting this afternoon said the CCU's decision deals a devastating blow to the island's economy.
Tuesday's decision to ban all new development in the central part of Guam came as a shock to the GLUC, whose chairperson, Jay Lather, said, "Imagine the message that would go to investors when we say that we're not going to allow anymore applications to come in and we're not going to allow approved applications to go forward. I mean, this is a death blow - I personally think it's a mistake, and I won't stand for it."
Commissioner Frank Blaz also echoed the confusion amongst his colleagues, saying since the news of the moratorium he has changed his position regarding the approval of new development because he didn't realize how big the problem was. Now, he's just confused. "I don't know what to do, I'm not sure what I do is right when I approve, am I right if I disapprove, am I right? I'm in that state," he expressed. "It's not fair to say OK, we approve and you go and find solutions with the Guam Waterworks Authority. We're passing the buck here."
As a result of the confusion created by the moratorium, one developer's plan has been put on hold. Studio E Development's proposed ten-unit townhome was put on the backburner for at least a week. The development of Chichirika Estates in Tamuning runs close to $2.5 million and would create at least 50 jobs during its construction phase, not including future jobs the development would create through building maintenance, landscaping and security. Studio E project manager Jae Ji says he doesn't see why his project would be put on hold, but if GWA doesn't allow them to tap into existing sewer lines, they have a backup plan.
Ji tells KUAM News that if approved by Guam Environmental Protection Agency, they will install a septic tank, which would be pumped and transported to a wastewater treatment plant. The GLUC in the meantime will meet to discuss the issue again next week, hopefully with the presence of the Tumon Bay Improvement Consortium, the CCU and GWA.