Because the Department of Public Lands is not included in the CNMI central government budgetary process, the department must bring in revenue by leasing and permitting public land for various purposes. The key division that generates income for the Department of Public Lands for its operations and maintenance and administration of all public lands is the Division of Real Estate. This division, together with other divisions including the Division of Finance collaborate to prepare leases and other permits, issue them to appropriate customers and perform billing, collection and enforcements,( by the Division of Compliance), of land documents agreements and permits. Revenues for operations, programs and related projects are projected on the basis of the number of leases and permits issued. Although times have been difficult and has affected the CNMI’s economy, the Department of Public Lands (DPL) has retained much of its leases and temporary permits. The Real Estate Division is responsible and performs a key role in the processing of requests for long term leases and temporary permits on public lands.
The vision of the Real Estate Division is that long term leases and temporary permits on public lands are processed in a timely manner that maximizes CNMI’s revenues from public land assets to sustain funding for the Marianas Public Lands Trust (MPLT) to ensure social and economic benefits for individuals of Northern Marianas Descent and support DPL programs.
The mission of the Real Estate Division is to process and retain long term leases and temporary permits on public lands in order to ensure sustainable revenue is being leveraged from CNMI’s public land assets to sustain funding for the Marianas Public Lands Trust (MPLT) and to support DPL programs.
The Real Estate Division Staff
- Bonnie Royal, Director
- Veralynn Basa, Lease/Permit Specialist I
- Cathleen Seman, Lease/Permit Technician III
- Abigail Borja, Lease/Permit Technician II
- Tatiana Kaipat, Administrative Assistant
The DPL maintains partnership, through long term leases and temporary permits, with brand companies such as Mobil Oil, Shell, Hyatt Regency, Gold’s Gym, and Seventh-Day Adventist. Businesses may vary from large scale leases with hotel/resorts to the smaller activities such as automotive repair, private schools, and telecommunications sites. Large or small, all ventures provide much needed services to the islands. These leases are spread across three different islands – Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Other islands in the chain have significant potential for development, such as eco-tourism projects.
The execution, renewals, extensions, and amendments of Temporary Permits (normally year-to-year) and Temporary Authorizations are some of the other tasks that the Real Estate Division performs. Temporary Permits and Temporary Authorizations are issued to other CNMI Government agencies, private companies, individuals, and non-profit organizations. Temporary permits allow such activities as follows:
- Parking Spaces
- Political Signboards
- Beachfront Concessions
- Roadside Vending
- Maintenance (Commercial or Non-commercial)
- Subsistence Agricultural and/or Grazing
Moratoriums for the acceptance of applications for beachfront concessions and agricultural and/or grazing requests have been placed effective as of April 1, 2010 and February 18, 2013, respectively.
Temporary Authorizations are usually issued for shorter term activities, which include the display of banners, events on public land (e.g. Flame Tree Arts Festival, Annual Department of Lands and Natural Resources Agricultural Fair, walk-a-thons, non-profit organization or religious assemblies, among many). However, there are Temporary Authorizations granted for longer term or recurring events that do not require much preparation (e.g. Thursday Night Street Market, commercial banner display, CNMI Government signboard display and maintenance, etc.)