On Monday, March 20, 2017, Senator Tom Ada introduced Bill No. 47-34 (COR) to authorize the Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) to expend up to $1,750,000 for the surveying of its masterplan subdivision lots and unregistered properties. Approximately nine thousand (9,000) acres of CLTC lands have not yet been surveyed and registered and over eighty-five (85) CLTC masterplan subdivisions that need to be surveyed into individual lots. A survey is an essential step in the land registration process.
“Bill No. 47-34 (COR) appropriates funding for CLTC to complete the surveying of Chamorro Land Trust lands for the purpose of land registration and for creating lots for residential and agricultural leases”, according to Senator Tom Ada. “The CLTC does not currently have the manpower to complete a project of this scope; thus, private surveyors will need to be contracted to complete the survey and mapping requirements in a timely manner.”
The estimated annual cost for this 5-year project is $350,000, which will be sourced from the CLTC Commercial Lease/License Fund. The Fund receives its revenues from the commercial leasing of Chamorro Land Trust properties set aside for specifically for the generation of revenues to do work such as surveying.
Additionally, leases have previously been issued (improperly or otherwise) and homes erected, on CLTC some CLTC lands have no formal lot designation because they have not been surveyed and registered. Consequently, these properties cannot be taxed, and suffer restrictions in obtaining basic utilities. “This situation can only be rectified by properly surveying and registering these properties,” said Senator Ada.
The Department of Land Management estimates that the survey project may take up to five years to complete based on the availability of registered surveyors and their current workload. Bill No. 47-34(COR) will also allow CLTC to hire two (2) persons on a limited term appointments (LTA) for the duration of this project, and are to be dedicated to this project, to serve as an Engineering Technicians or Engineering Aides. They will assist in contract monitoring and map processing to ensure surveys are performed according to the specifications required by the Department of Land Management.
Current law prohibits the CLTC from leasing unregistered lands. Despite this prohibition, scores of CLTC applicants inhabit unregistered lands from the “arriendo” program and were carried over by the CLTC in its early years. A land survey is also a mandatory prerequisite for the issuance of a CLTC lease.