The Office of the Governor’s Infrastructure and Reclamation Program works closely with the Northern Marianas Housing Corporation to conduct archaeological surveys of United States Housing and Urban Development funded settlement sites to assist the NMHC to conduct environmental reviews for their community development program. Affordable housing construction, rehabilitation/reconstruction and rental programs.
The first batch of 31 archaeological surveys was provided to NMHC for review by the Office of Historic Preservation on July 13, 2022. After the first batch was submitted, IRP archeology staff and staff from the NMHC have already completed over 50 additional surveys from the NMHC Priority List. and the IRP is finalizing the reports for the submission of the second batch.
Of the 31 residential sites, the IRP recommended 6 sites for a determination of No Affected Historic Properties and 25 sites for No Potential to Affect Historic Properties. These reports will be reviewed by the CNMI Historic Preservation Office and 24 sites in the lot were approved by HPO on July 24, 2022. Upon agreement, the next steps leading to the start of construction are:
1) Preliminary Titer Ratio Determination;
2) Complete the assessment; and
3) Loan closing
The first batch of archaeological surveys was conducted before the development of the properties in Kagman I, Kagman II, Kagman III, Kagman III Phase IV, Dandan, as well as in the villages of As Gonno, Koblerville, Kannat Tabla, Chalan Laulau, As Teo, San Vicente, Capital Hill, Papago and As Lito.
As part of properties owned or assigned to borrowers approved under the NMHC’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery or CDBG-DR, potential housing sites must undergo site inspections followed by environmental reviews or ER, including certification that all decisions and actions comply with laws and authorities. NMHC CDBG-DR housing construction cannot begin new construction or rehabilitation/reconstruction until these required REs are completed.
CNMI’s Office of Historic Preservation has advised NMHC that “The Archaeological Services Company shall assist NMHC in complying with all regulations for the protection of historic properties as set forth in 36 CFR Part 800. The Archaeological Services Company shall Qualified archaeological services must have a “Secretary of the Interior Certified Archaeologist.” and will assist the NMHC in accordance with the CNMI Historic Preservation Office.
CNMI’s archaeological staff responsible for infrastructure and recovery consists of Senior Archaeologist Jeremy Freeman, Archaeologist Scott Bierly, and Anthropologist Keona Torres. Freeman and Bierly meet the professional qualification standards of the United States Secretary of the Interior, which allows them to carry out this project.
According to NMHC CDBG-DR staff assigned to the program, the collaboration between NMHC and IRP in carrying out these assessments has been effective and responsive.
As of May 16, 2022, 272 home loan applications have been approved under the program. Of these, 258 approved borrowers had taken the homeowner’s counseling sessions; 210 had identified properties; 172 had carried out site inspections; 47 had completed the required environmental assessments; 43 had obtained preliminary titer reports; 17 had completed their property appraisals; and 4 had closed their loans.
Completion of this program would mean providing equitable, affordable, safe, decent and healthy housing to eligible residents (low and middle income people) three years after Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu.
For more information on CDBG-DR’s Homeownership-New Construction, Rehabilitation/Reconstruction, and Affordable Housing programs, visit the CDBG-DR website: https://www.cnmi-cdbgdr. com/.
For more information about the Governor’s Office Infrastructure and Recovery Program, call (670) 664-4775/76 or email [email protected]/. To consult the IRP 2021 annual report, click on the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MPKhibu2ZRfI65DGeDcEoPj-mWK6AHpg/view?usp=sharing/.