At the Islandwide Beautification Task Force (IBTF) meeting Wednesday, Director of the Department of Land Management (DLM) Joseph Borja explained obstacles to road improvement along Mai Mai Road in Ordot-Chalan Pago.
“You can only spend federal highway money on property that is actually owned by the public,” said Borja. “You know: GovGuam property. Roads like that. That was the major, major issue as to why Mai Mai Road was never improved.”
According to Borja, 48 lots make up Mai Mai Road, and 24 of those lots are privately owned. Acknowledging continuous concern from the community on why roads on Guam are not being fixed, Borja said GovGuam must first acquire those privately owned lots.
“In the mapping process is [the] dedicating [of] that property for public use and the Governor accepting that property for public use, thereby taking responsibility for fixing it,” said Borja.
Dedication refers the process in which a property owner signs their property over to GovGuam.
Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio addressed other infrastructure agencies’ involvement in the project, such as the Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA). One barrier to road improvement Borja shared was how GWA’s pump station is built entirely on private property, creating legal hurdles for many of their main lines.
Acquiring private land for the public
The main focus in furthering the project, said Borja, should be to acquire private land for the public.
He described three methods to acquire private land: dedication; negotiated sales, when the issuer and buyers negotiate the terms of transaction; and judicial condemnation, in which the Department of Public Works (DPW) declares the property to be of public need and interest.
The fastest and cheapest method of acquisition, according to Borja, is dedication.
“The next course of action,” Borja said, “is DPW writes a way to begin approaching those 24 parcels and going through the acquisition process–dedication, negotiated sales, and condemnation–and getting to get ownership of the property on there.”
Lt. Governor Tenorio mentioned he looks forward to a public meeting to discuss the project.