26.0209 Review of land use permit applications.

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A. Acceptance for review. Acceptance for review means a formal determination that a document is sufficiently complete to commence its review.

1. Upon filing the application with the Department of Commerce, the Manager shall ensure that the application is complete, that the vicinity map and site plan are acceptable, and that all other necessary documents are attached.

2. If any additional information is required, the applicant will be notified; provided that, if the required information is not provided by the applicant within ninety (90) days of the notification, the land use permit application shall be considered void.

3. Once all necessary materials are submitted by the applicant, the Manager shall: make a determination of whether the project is a major or minor project; make a determination of acceptance for review; and notify the applicant.

B. Public notice.

1. Minor projects. Upon acceptance for review the American Samoa Coastal Management Program shall post notice of the application at the Department of Commerce. The notice shall remain posted for three (3) business days. No action on the permit can be taken during the notice period.

2. Major projects and project requesting federal consistency. Upon acceptance for review the American Samoa Coastal Management Program shall post notice in the Department of Commerce which shall remain posted until a final decision has been made. Additionally, the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Territory, at least one (1) week prior to the Board’s review of any project, use or activity. The notice shall contain: the status of the project review; a statement that a record of the project proposal is available for public inspection; a statement that public comments will be considered; and information on the procedures by which the public may request a public hearing, and the date, time, and location of the Board’s review of the land use permit application under consideration. The applicant shall be given at least seven (7) days written notice of the meeting.

C. Site visit.

1. The American Samoa Coastal Management Program shall conduct a site visit and prepare a report prior to taking action on any land use permit application. The report shall be maintained as part of the application record.

2. For major projects the American Samoa Coastal Management Program shall coordinate a site visit for the Board and prepare a report prior to taking action on my land use permit application.

D. Review standards.

1. The proposed project shall be reviewed in accordance with the Act and the provisions of this chapter.

2. The issuance of an approved land use permit does not relieve an applicant from complying with any other required territorial or federal permits, licenses, clearances, or approvals which may be required by law or regulation.

3. Reclassification of a project from minor to major. Any Board member may reclassify a minor project to a major project. The justification for the reclassification shall be stated in writing and added to the applicant’s file. Upon reclassification, all provisions of this chapter applicable to major projects shall apply.

E. Minor project review.

1. Minor projects shall be reviewed by the American Samoa Coastal Management Program who may consult with diverse government agencies for technical assistance.

2. A decision shall be issued not less than five (5) business days from the close of the published notice, provided that any Board member has not reclassified the project, use or activity as a major project.

F. Major project review.

1. Major projects shall be reviewed, evaluated, and a decision made by the Board at a regular or special meeting.

2. A decision on a land use permit application for a major project shall be issued within forty-five (45) days from acceptance for review.

a. The forty-five (45) days review period shall be suspended if:

(1) The applicant or a designee fails to appear at a regular meeting, special meeting or public hearing on three occasions without giving twenty-four (24) hours notice requesting a continuance, the Board shall void the land use permit application;

(2) Additional information is requested by any Board member agency in order to properly evaluate the project, provided that if the required information is not provided by the applicant within ninety (90) days of the request, the Board shall void the land use permit application:

(3) A public hearing is held; or

(4) Any member of the Board determines that an environmental assessment if necessary to properly evaluate the project.

b. The forty-five (45) day period for review shall commence upon receipt of the additional information required, the date the public hearing is concluded, or the acceptance by the Board of an environmental assessment.

3. Public testimony shall be heard by the Board when the land use permit application is scheduled to be heard, as published in the public notice, and all public testimony shall become part of the land use permit applicant’s permanent file.

4. Public hearings.

a. A public hearing on a major project shall be held in or near the village in which the project, use or activity is located, provided that a request is made in writing to the American Samoa Coastal Management Program by:

(1) any Board member agency;

(2) any other territorial or federal agency;

(3) any publicly funded organization representing no less than twenty-five (25) members;

(4) any landowner or occupier within two hundred (200) feet of the project site;

(5) no less than twenty-five (25) members of the public; or

(6) the project includes the construction of major facilities.

b. A public hearing shall be called as soon as practicable after the determination is made to hold a public hearing, but in no event shall a public hearing be held with less than fourteen (14) days notice posted at the Department of Commerce, and published at least once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Territory.

c. The Board may exempt from the public hearing requirements any major project which is funded by federal grants that has had a public hearing equivalent to the environmental review process of the Project Notification Review System, as provided by this chapter, as part of the grant process. In such case the record of the prior public hearing shall be filed with the Board.

5. Written technical findings shall be prepared by each Board member with jurisdiction.

a. If additional permits e.g., water quality certification, are required, those Board members with jurisdiction shall comment on the requirements.

b. If appropriate, project modifications, alternatives or mitigating conditions shall be proposed.

c. If a project is found by a Board member not to be in compliance, or capable of complying, with the requirements of the board member’s agency, a written basis for such determination shall be provided to the Board.

d. Technical findings and recommendations of the Board and public comments shall be maintained as a part of the record.

6. Upon review of the entire record, the Board shall determine whether the proposed project, use or action complies, or reasonably can be conditioned to comply, with the Act, the provisions of this chapter, and with the respective jurisdiction of each member of the Board.

a. An approved or conditional land use permit requires a unanimous vote of the Board members present.

b. The Board’s decision shall include written findings of fact and conclusions of law.

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