New law creates planning office

GOVERNOR Ralph Torres on Friday signed into law a measure establishing the Office of Planning and Development.

Introduced by Senate President Arnold Palacios, Senate Bill 20-2 is now Public Law 20-20.

Arnold Palacios

According to the new law, individuals, developers and investors are constructing homes, buildings, hotels, apartments and other major developments without a CNMI comprehensive sustainable development plan to ensure that new developments can be accommodated by the island’s current infrastructure.

The new law establishes a CNMI comprehensive sustainable development plan that will guide future long-range development based on existing plans, maps and other resources.

The Office of Planning and Development will be headed by a director who will be appointed by the governor and serve at the pleasure of the governor.

“The director shall be required to analyze and interpret development trends and information of all kinds to appraise and coordinate planning programs and supervise the execution of the responsibilities of the Advisory Council for Planning and Development….”

The council will consist of the director of the Planning and Development Office, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality administrator, the secretary of the Department of Public Lands, the secretary of the Department of Public Works, the secretary of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the secretary of the Department of Commerce, the zoning administrator, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. director, the Marianas Visitors Authority managing director, representatives from the Office of the Mayor of Saipan and the Northern Islands, and the heads of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce   and the governor’s Strategic Economic Development Council.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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