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Owner defends Merizo mall project

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MERIZO land owner Lorenzo “Larry” Flores, who is seeking to rezone his property to a commercial zone in order to build a mini mall, has defended his right to develop his property despite grumblings from residents in the neighboring properties.

He said he has the same rights – including the right to develop his rightfully owned property — as the residents opposed to the development.

At recent public hearings, Merizo residents voiced concerns over the development plan which they said will disrupt the tranquility of the village.

Flores’ plan is to develop his land on West Chalan Kanton for a 10-retail unit complex to provide easy accessibility to goods and services to the southernmost villages. There will not be any bars or similar businesses, Flores said, adding the proposed facility will only have wholesome, family-oriented businesses.

“It’s for the villagers,” Flores said. “I just wanted to add to the village community to make sure life is a little easier.”

Flores has circulated a petition signed by more than 30 residents of Merizo and nearby villages supporting the development, as well as letters of support from community leaders such as Sen. Tina Muña-Barnes and Umatac Mayor Johnny Quinata.

Only five residents directly across from the property are opposed to the development, while neighbors on either side and behind the property are in support, Flores said.

Merizo Mayor Ernest Chargualaf said a change in the village is inevitable. “I wear two hats, as a private citizen and a community leader,” the mayor said. “As a private citizen, I would like to keep the village as it is; but as a community leader, I have to respect this individual’s right to develop his property.”

Flores said he welcomes statements of concerns and will take them into account.

The rezoning is still under review by the Guam Land Use Commission.

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