Friday, the 36th Guam Legislature passed a bill that strengthens penalties relative to derelict buildings and structures.
PNC’s Devin Eligio has the story…
Bill No. 151-36, introduced by Senator James Moylan, aims to modernize the process and penalties in association with unsafe and derelict buildings and structures.
The Guam Legislature finds that Guam’s statute requires some modifications to provide inspectors of the Department of Public Works reasonable timelines to work with property owners of derelict structures to remedy the problem.
Moylan explained the complications the Department of Public Works has had in contacting the property owners of these derelict buildings.
He cited such problems as determining whether or not the property is in probate, whether or not the owner is deceased, and locating the property owner.
Moylan said DPW is frustrated with the current dates and timelines they are working with now and hopes that the Legislature will consider their recommendations.
Senator Telo Taitague voiced her concern about the bill, saying that Guam’s economic state cannot support a bill with such strict penalties and deadlines.
Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes introduced an amendment to this bill to give proper notice to the property owners to have a hearing within 30 days of DPW’s determination of non-compliance with orders to vacate, repair, and demolish such structures.
Senator Joe San Agustin motioned for the amendment to give notice within 90 days to provide more leeway for notice.
Another amendment by Barnes was made to restore a section of the bill which entails imposing a fine on those who trespass into derelict buildings or fail to vacate or repair the structure under orders by DPW.
Senator San Agustin moved to amend the semantics of this section of the amendment, showing more compassion to those who may not have the money to pay such fines.
Senator Amanda Shelton voiced her support for the bill and offered an amendment that will give an option to those who violate the law and trespass into derelict buildings to serve community service rather than simply fining them.
She shared her sentiments for those that may use these buildings as shelter in unfortunate times.
In Senator Chris Duenas’s statement over the bill, he reminded those in attendance of the responsibility the GovGuam has for the people of Guam.