26.0206 Establishment of the Project Notification and Review System: jurisdiction, members, conduct of meetings, voting.

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A. There is established and consolidated within the Department of Commerce a streamlined land use permit system that integrates the permitting requirements of each of the territorial agencies concerned with environmental management and shall be known as the Project Notification and Review System.

B. The jurisdiction of the Project Notification and Review System shall be the coastal zone of American Samoa.

1. Coastal zone or coastal zone area means the coastal waters, including the waters therein and thereunder, in proximity to the shorelines of the Territory, and includes islands, transitional and intertidal areas, salt marshes, wetlands, and beaches. The coastal zone extends inland from the shorelines to the extent necessary to control the shore, the use of which has a direct and significant impact on the coastal waters. Excluded from the coastal zone are lands the use of which is by law subject solely to the discretion of or which is held in trust by the federal government, its officers or agents, and to control those geographical areas which are likely to be affected by or vulnerable to sea level rise.

2. The American Samoa coastal zone includes the entire island of Tutuila, the Manu’a Islands, Aunu’u Island, Rose Island, and Swains Island in the Territory of American Samoa and all coastal waters and submerged lands for a distance of three (3) nautical miles seaward in all directions therefrom.

C. Members of the Project Notification and Review System:

1. The Project Notification and Review System shall be administered by the Project Notification and Review System Board.

2. Members of the Board shall be the directors or their designee of the Territory agencies which have permitting or regulatory authority on land use development and environmental matters in the coastal zone.

3. The Board includes the following:

a. Department of Commerce; American Samoa Coastal Management Programs;

b. American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency;

c. American Samoa Historic Preservation Office;

d. American Samoa Power Authority;

e. Department of Health;

f. Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources;

g. Department of Parks and Recreation; and

h. Department of Public Works.

4. The Director shall appoint an ex-officio Chair who shall chair regular and special meetings and public hearing, but who shall not vote, provided that if the Board is evenly divided, then the Chair shall cast the deciding vote.

5. The American Samoa Coastal Management Program shall provide support staff for the Board and all necessary supplies.

D. Meetings

1. The Board shall convene regular meetings or special meetings at times and places as determined by the Chair. Minutes of all meetings shall be kept and shall be reviewed and approved by the Board and made available to the public upon request. Board proceedings shall be informal and presided over by the Chair. The presence of five (5) members shall constitute a quorum.

a. Regular meetings shall be scheduled for the first and third Wednesday of each month, unless the Director determines that rescheduling is appropriate due to a public holiday or a government function.

b. Special meetings may be scheduled by the Director upon receiving a written request from a land use permit applicant that the Board’s review of a project, use or activity is necessary rather than at the regular meeting dates. All procedures and policies shall be applied to special meetings.

2. All meetings of the Board shall be open to the public and public notice shall be given. The Board may adjourn and reconvene in executive session for the purpose of consulting with staff regarding legal, technical, and personnel matters. Minutes of the executive session are confidential and shall be stored in such a manner to protect confidentiality.

E. Voting

1. All sections by the Board shall be by vote and publicly cast.

2. Each member agency shall have one vote.

3. Unless otherwise provided by the provisions of this chapter all actions taken by the Board shall be by majority vote of those present.

4. All Board members participating in decisions regarding land use permits shall do so in a fair and impartial manner.

a. Board members shall not participate in decisions on land use permit where there exists and appearance or an actual conflict of interest.

b. If any member agency of the Board submits a land use permit application, that member agency shall be recused from voting on the proposed project.

c. A representative of a Board member agency who is recused hereunder shall be counted for purposes of determining a quorum.

F. Pursuant to ASCA § 24.0506, any agency of the Territory may be called upon by the Board to advise on projects relevant to their particular authority or jurisdiction.

History: Rule 8-80 (Ex. Ord. 03-80); ASCMP Reg. (Ex. Ord. 07-88); Rule 2-97, eff 4 Aug 97.