Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Puerto Rico House bill orders more hearings on adoption of land-use maps

By on October 10, 2019

Draft Planning Board zone classification maps at issue

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico House of Representatives unanimously passed Thursday the report recommending Joint Resolution 554, which orders the Planning Board to resume the public hearings process to provide municipalities, agencies, private entities and the public the opportunity to comment on the adoption of the new Puerto Rico Land Classification District Maps.

The chairman of the Economic Development and Planning Committee, Rep. Víctor Parés, announced that the measure he authored, was passed with amendments that include adding members of the public in the multisectoral committee that advises the board on the topic.

“Ordering the Planning Board to extend the period of public hearings to discuss the draft Land Classification Maps and its Geodata equivalent, should not be understood as an assertion that the process carried out by the board did not comply with the applicable laws and regulations. However, given the historical events that occurred in Puerto Rico during the public hearing process, they are sufficient reason for us to conclude allowing people interested in the discussion to have additional time to analyze the document and express themselves in these hearings is the best public policy,” Parés said in a statement.

The draft maps were presented in public hearings from July 15 to 24 in the municipalities of Ponce, Barranquitas, Cidra, Bayamón, Fajardo, Aguadilla, Guaynabo, Carolina and Manatí.

“The Governor, through Executive Order OE-2019-052, acknowledged the importance of these maps by creating the aforementioned committee in order to provide technical support and recommendations on the proposed qualification maps. We believe that including a member of the public interest reinforces the composition of this Committee,” the lawmaker added.

The public can comment on the Planning board’s website, http://jp.pr.gov.

CyberNews contributed to this report.