10 Dec 2004

Uncertainty in Guam over land zoning

4:46 pm on 10 December 2004

After years of waiting for their ancestral lands to be handed back, hundreds of Guam residents remain in limbo about what they can do with their property because of confusion over zoning.

The Land Management Director, Joseph Borja, says the island is at risk of what he calls districting mayhem.

He cites as examples a cemetery next to an auto-body shop, or a school in a bar district, or a pig farm next to a hotel.

Mr Borja says there are between 600 and 800 parcels of former military land have been returned to the local government and then to their original landowners, but the land has never been zoned.

The privately owned land was condemned and then occupied by the military immediately after World War II, years before the island began zoning.

Mr Borja says military-occupied property was never zoned so the lots that have been returned to original landowners and remained without a designation.