Mayors help DPW pinpoint unsafe buildings

ABANDONED: Overgrown vegetation overtakes an abandoned parking lot structure in Tumon. The structure was once part of the Dai Ichi Hotel, which suffered damage during an earthquake in the early 1990's. Dontana Keraskes/The Guam Daily Post  

Mayors are identifying unsafe structures in their villages to assist the Department of Public Works in enforcing safety laws.

"We are inviting all the mayors to participate because who more than the mayors know their villages better than themselves?" Public Works Director Vincent Arriola said at Tuesday's meeting of the Islandwide Beautification Task Force.

In Sinajana, for example, "about five" unsafe structures that include apartments have been identified and will be sent to DPW, Mayor Robert Hofmann said.

Arriola wrote a Jan. 7 letter to the Mayors' Council of Guam, seeking mayors and vice mayors' help in identify buildings, structures or equipment that are deemed "unsafe" for DPW to inspect and then issue a notice of violation to the identified owner of the property.

"We know there are so many homes that fall under that category," Arriola said, adding that in some cases, one can barely see a structure since it is overgrown with thick vegetation.

These unsafe places have also become shelters for homeless people, he said.

The DPW director said once the structure is confirmed as unsafe under the definition of law, the department will give a notice to the last registered owner to address the issues identified with the property within 30 days.

If there's no action, Arriola said DPW can go in there to clean it up, make it safe and board it up. Some funds used to make the place safe or clean can be attached as a lien to that property.

This is a continuation of efforts to rid the island of structures that are health and safety hazards.

DPW, along with other task force members, started issuing notices of violation to owners of derelict and abandoned properties in Tumon.

The notices resulted in compliance efforts from at least two property owners, Arriola said.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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