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Zoning Board approves conditional-use permit for Wireless Ridge hotel renovation

AFTER two hours of lengthy discussions and comments from the public, the Zoning Board on Thursday decided to allow the proposed hotel renovations proposed by American Sinopan LLC at Wireless Ridge on Capital Hill.

Voting yes were board vice chairman Bruce Bateman, treasurer Mariano Taitano and member Joel Camacho. Board secretary Joe Ayuyu Jr. was absent.

Zoning Board Chairman Diego Blanco, who also voted yes, said the developer still has to secure siting permits from other regulatory agencies.

American Sinopan, a subsidiary of First Sinopan International Ltd. in Hong Kong, is proposing to renovate and develop a 12-executive-room hotel called Heaven II.

Ken T. Lin, chief executive officer of American Sinopan, said they are also planning to open the Saipan Garden Resort in Tanapag with 1,180 hotel rooms.

According to its legal counsel Matt Gregory, American Sinopan has longstanding development experience in China involving up-scale hotels as well as residential, commercial and hotel operation experience.

Zoning Administrator Therese Ogumoro said her office has received the required documents from American Sinopan as well as a report from the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. confirming that water pressure is adequate to supply the development and residents at Wireless Ridge.

During a public hearing in May, the Zoning Board deferred the approval of American Sinopan’s conditional use permit application, pending the submission of the developer’s operating agreement.

During that hearing at the multi-purpose center, Wireless Ridge residents who spoke to the board did not object to the proposed project, saying it would enhance a long-abandoned structure in the area.

However, during Thursday’s hearing in the Zoning Office conference room, residents did express concerns regarding the impact of the development on water supply, power and road conditions.

American Sinopan executives said they will comply with CUC’s recommendations and improve the road in the area.

Rep. Alice Igitol and her staff member Juan Tenorio said they are now in the process of negotiating with land owners so the government can proceed with the plan to develop the road.

Resident Greg Camacho expresses his support for the proposed hotel renovations at Wireless Ridge, but he also wants the developer to upgrade the road in the area. Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

Resident Walter Macaranas said the present conditions of the road and water supply are poor.

According to Rep. Leepan Guerrero, “Our problem here has been compounded because we don’t have a comprehensive land-use plan.”

Gregory said the construction period may take six to eight months, and will start as soon as they comply with all the requirements and secure the necessary permits.

Lin said the hotel project will have 12 luxury guest rooms with a maximum of two persons per room, and a 60-seat capacity restaurant that will serve international cuisines including Chinese, Japanese and Western.

They will also have a multifunction room for conferences and business meetings, and a pool-side open area for events. The hotel and restaurant will be open to the public by appointment, Lin said, adding that they plan to have 44 staff members, 30 percent of whom will be local residents.

Gregory assured residents in the area that the water supply will not be affected by the project.

Aside from getting water from CUC, he said they can also purchase 6,630 gallons three times a week, and have a water storage capacity of 8,450 gallons in the basement of their building A.

“With the new booster pump in place, we hope to increase the existing 5.06 gallons per minute to 50 gallons per minute. It will reduce our water purchase and benefit the surrounding community.”

For power, he said they will have a backup 175-kilowatt generator.

He said while they will use the existing septic tank and, if required, will enlarge it and the leech field.

Lin said the project will be opened for tender to local contractors with a maximum of 30 workers.

There will be no illegal workers allowed at the work site, he said. “Our site will also enforce construction safety.”

Lin added, “It’s our vision for the Heaven II Hotel to become an important name in the CNMI. It is our belief that the hotel will bring new life to the community and grow with that community.”

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/97121-zoning-board-approves-conditional-use-permit-for-wireless-ridge-hotel-renovation

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