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Back Letter to the Editor Legislative alert: Proposed parking sizes

Legislative alert: Proposed parking sizes

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ACCORDING to the last paragraph of the proposed parking law, all buildings will have their occupancy permits "revoked" if they do not comply with the new parking sizes. This is draconian.

May I suggest this should apply only to GovGuam buildings, and to new building permits for privately owned buildings. All existing, privately owned buildings should be grandfathered. My first impression is that it is not the business of the government to tell a private property owner how his parking spaces should be. I drive a Kia Soul which can fit in even the smallest spaces. Maybe we should start by outlawing oversized cars that guzzle too much gas, and start with the oversized GovGuam vehicles.

If a private establishment does not provide adequate parking for their customers, then the customers won't go there. A good example is the old PDN building – no parking, tenants left, the new owner bought extra land and now there is great parking. So private enterprise has to provide parking for the convenience of their customers/clients, or they perish, and close up. This is the main reason why we have added another 800 parking space garage to our Outrigger/Plaza complex.

This is not the case for GovGuam buildings. The customer/client has no other choice and nowhere else to go. GovGuam parking is first assigned to employees, and the customer takes whatever is left, if there is any left. Cases in Point: The Legislative building (illegal parking on the sidewalks), the Adelup complex, The Agana Administrative Building, the Hospital, even the airport, where customers/clients are charged for parking, while employees have free parking.

When existing private properties were built, they complied with all laws at the time they obtained their building and occupancy permits. To change the rules of the game after the fact will make many people very upset. And what about buildings with variances?

Rather than more nuisance laws, what about more constructive legislation that would give more support to the Guam Police Department so they can enforce existing laws? Daily violation of all traffic signals (in particular two or three extra cars driving through red lights), flagrant, glaring, illegal parking behind the Tumon Smith Police Station and next to the Fiesta Hotel. NO ENFORCEMENT OF EXISTING TRAFFIC LAWS AND BEACH REGULATIONS.

Do we need more nuisance laws that will only be enforced against the private sector, while the worst offenders, public buildings, go scot free? As a property owner, I believe I speak for many in the community.

A reasonable compromise would be to have this proposed law, this new change in the rules, apply to new buildings obtaining building permits after enactment of this law. This would follow the standard convention of most laws allowing for the grandfathering of past construction. By applying to building permits going forward, plans can be checked and approved before the private property owner has expended money.

Additionally, it should be clarified that this parking law would be applied only to the construction of new buildings, and not renovation of space within an existing building.

One last item would be to apply this rule to all government buildings. At the very least we would have a government leading by example. Too often laws are only applied against the private sector, and not government. I can safely say that not a single government building, including the existing Legislative building, can even remotely satisfy these new requirements.

As a former senator, I appreciate the difficulty in passing new legislation, and making fair and reasonable compromises consistent with past practice. But that’s the best way to ensure smooth sailing through the process.

Alfred C. Ysrael,
Tumon

 

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