Chamorro Land Trust Approves Rules For Commercial Leases

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Commission sends proposal to governor, legislature must approve

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 15, 2015) – The Chamorro Land Trust Commission is a step closer to issuing commercial leases.

The commission approved rules and regulations for commercial leases and it's been formally submitted to the attorney general for review, Department of Land Management Director Michael Borja said.

The rules have also been submitted for an informal review by the Legislature's land committee chairman Sen. Tom Ada, he said.

After the attorney general approves the rules and regulations, it will be sent to the governor for him to transmit to the Legislature, Borja said.

The Legislature will have up to 90 days to approve, reject or amend the rules and regulations, he said. If the Legislature doesn't act by 90 days, the rules and regulations will automatically go into effect, he said.

And although the commission will have to wait a bit for the rules and regulations to go into effect, the commission will work to get things ready when it does, he said.

The body is working on developing procurement to begin executing some projects once the rules and regulations are complete, Borja said.

Generating revenue

Public land is held in the trust to benefit the island's indigenous Chamorros, who are eligible for residential and agricultural leases of trust property.

The trust also issues commercial leases, which Borja said are important because they generate revenue to support other Chamorro Land Trust programs.

"It's our bread and butter," he said.

The Chamorro Land Trust Commission, after discovering inconsistencies in past lease agreements, placed a moratorium on commercial leases until the rules and regulations are approved.

As it stands, residential leases can't be given to many of the applicants because they need to have the land surveyed first, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, Borja said.

The more revenue, including from commercial leases, that comes into the trust, the more residential and agricultural leases can be given to applicants on the wait list.

Much of the land in the inventory doesn't have infrastructure, and installing power and water can cost tens of thousands of dollars, Borja said.

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