Progress at the Nosara Hills urban development project not only depends on a ruling from the environmental court, but also the approval from the national Housing and Development Institute (INVU).
The Voice of Guanacaste contacted INVU's Auditing Unit, the department in charge of these procedures, and they said that there is no record of the project having been approved nor that it has filed for permits. Therefore, Nosara Hills hasn't been presented to the institution.
While the project has always been planned as an urban complex, its developer requested permits in an improper manner, and never requested approval from INVU as all urban development projects are required to do.
For now, Nosara Hills only has three houses, but plans to build a total of 12.
According to the owner of the project, Marion Peri, separating the land unto parcels is a viable, legal path in Costa Rica.
“We are not in an economic situation where we can build 20 houses at once,” Peri said. “What the law allows us to do is sell parcels for agriculture. The law doesn’t say that you can’t separate the parcels and develop them with a third party.”
According to attorney Ignacio Alfaro, who specializes in real estate, all urban development projects require approval from INVU. While the law allows parcels to be separated if a project wasn’t conceived as such from the very beginning, this could be considered a violation of the law
“It’s the same as when you have a property and you have to perform excavations. For that, you need a permit, but to dig a ditch you don’t need city approval,” he said. “If you dig a ditch every day for two years, you’d remove as much dirt as you would have with heavy machinery.”
According to a letter from INVU’s urban planning department written by engineer Jorge Mora to Nicoya City Hall in July 2016, if Nosara Hills continues to divide up the properties with the intention to build, the city must deny the permits and immediately halt work on the development.