Before the public comments portion of the hearing, the ownership group, represented by F.C. Benavente planners, addressed five main resident concerns with the proposed development, specifically the environmental impact of the development on the area.
Guam – Department of Land Management Director Mike Borja says that the commissioners recessed a meeting on whether or not to grant a height and zone variance to the owners of Pago Bay resort until March 10th. At that time the applicants will be able to provide more information as well as respond to questions from the Guam Land Use Commission about their proposal to build a 14 and 15 story condominiums.
The first two residents to submit public comments on the proposed high-rise condominiums in Pago Bay were Dr. Dianne Strong and Dr. Laura Biggs. Dr. Strong’s comments were swift and to the point.
“I am going on record to say, I believe we should have a full blown environmental assessment impact report, like we do with the military buildup until at such time as that happens and we can all give input to it and read in a timely fashion the information I oppose this project and thank you very much,” said Strong.
Before the public comments portion of the hearing, the ownership group, represented by F.C. Benavente planners, addressed five main resident concerns with the proposed development, specifically the environmental impact of the development on the area. The applicants argued that the impact to the environment would be minimal. They cited studies from a retired UOG professor who stated that the coral reef near the area is mostly dead coral and therefore would not be affected by construction and subsequent development of the condos. This fact was immediately rebutted by Dr. Laura Biggs.
“This reef is not, you don’t snorkel and see it to be looking like Tumon, it is struggling and the community knows that. You talk to the fisherman and they know that, but I would not say the entire reef is dead, there are thriving sea grass beds that provide environment for juvenile fish and a critical habitat for those fish to grow up, the baby fish come in and hide in the sea grass and then they can move out,” said Biggs.
Biggs also argued that the construction of the condos would negatively impact the area because it would disrupt the natural mechanisms in place to filter storm water runoff.
“There are mechanisms in place right now there are not massive storm water runoff into the bay because it’s a natural habitat it’s able to percolate through the limestone and if we have a lot of cement, there is going to be an excess of freshwater runoff that freshwater isn’t just freshwater, its actually really bad for the coral reefs and the fish and the sea grass that live in Pago Bay,” said Biggs.