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Guam - The Guam Land Use Commission is weighing a zoning change request for over 1400 acres of agriculturally zoned property in the Lonfit and Sigua river areas.
The zone change is being sought by the Guam Highlands Investment group which seeks to develop up to 5,000 homes and two 25 story condominiums along with a town center with stores, a pavilion, a plaza, parks and a site to be donated for a school.
The area is in the center part of the island, above the Lonfit and Sigua river valleys, near the popular Sigua Falls hiking spot.
Various members of the community showed up with protest signs opposing the proposed development.
But Richard Jortberg, who represents Guam Highlands and property owner Texas A&M, explained that homes would be built gradually, to meet demand. The proposed development is about a mile away from Sigua Falls, he said.
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"If they're gonna be bull dozing anything that's indigenous, endangered or also has cultural significance that's extremely important for me I know that Sigua has a lot of artifacts at the river and the falls itself if it has it amongst any of these lands that's gonna be bull dozed that's important to me and I'm sure a lot of others,” said UOG student of Agriculture P.J. San Nicolas. San Nicolas is one of a growing ad hoc group of people who are spreading the word via social media sites like Facebook." There's a few of our agricultural majors in there that should be graduating very soon a lot of friends from We are Guahan and also a lot of new faces that I don't know of that have the same opinions,” said San Nicolas.
An online petition has been launched to gather signatures opposing the development said San Nicolas."There is an online petition that you can go to right now I don't have on hand what the website is but there is one going around I don't know who made it.”
The online petition against the proposed Sigua Highlands development had only about 20 signatures this Thursday morning, but by Thursday afternon, there were 265 signatures.
Jortberg was joined by John Duenas of Duenas Camacho & Associates, and archeologist David De Fant.
"I'd like to commend the Sigua group that's here and I'd also like to identify that the Sigua falls is approximately a mile away from this property so as you're walking along the road from Leo Palace road right where the road turns from the left that's pretty much the end of this property boundary so as you go up to the tank farm and up to the falls it's at least a mile away so a lot of the open space you're thinking about is really not on this property it's more to the west of this property,” said Jortberg.
He says they've gone to great lengths to ensure the project is done right. They have sepnt the past 2 years working on various environmental and archaeological surveys.
"When you talk about 5,000 homes and such that may take 30 years it may take 20 years,” said Jortberg.
As for the plans for 25 story condominiums Jortberg says they would save space. "They're setting a very high standard that's the intention of this project it's not to building up willy-nilly it's not to take up open space it's to concentrate the development with density as opposed to having a single family residential subdivision and take up so much land,” said Jortberg.
The GLUC decided to table the decision saying they needed more time to digest all of the information.
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