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More Time Granted for Analyzing Proposed Regulatory Plan

By Arianna McKinney

Many voiced opposition to how little time was given for community members to review the proposed regulatory plan for the Canton of Nicoya and submit observations, just 10 working days after the plan was presented on Saturday, February 25th, and the municipal council on Monday, March 26th agreed to allow those who submitted comments during those ten days to have an additional 45 working days to continue reviewing the plan, beginning April 9th. 

The decision came as a result of a meeting hosted at the municipality on Friday, March 23rd to discuss the feedback received by the regulatory plan commission. At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Marco Jimenez stressed that the time to submit observations and appeals had passed and the meeting was only for informative purposes and to discuss observations or questions submitted during those 10 days.


However, as several in attendance reiterated their displeasure with how little time was given to review the proposed plan in detail, the mayor retired to his office and later returned, stating that in life sometimes decisions must be made and assuring those in attendance that a motion to extend the time allotted would be presented to the municipal council on Monday since by law the decision had to be made by the council. “Here we don’t want to hide anything at all,” the mayor assured.

Juan Carlos Oviedo Quesada, coordinator of the regulatory plan commission, who presented the motion to the council, explained that only those who already submitted comments during the initial 10 days will be included in reviewing the proposal during the additional 45 working days. Otherwise, he reasoned, the process of reviewing the plan would never finish. He affirmed that the participation of these community members will be helpful and assured that their input will be used to modify the proposed plan if there are no conflicts, and explained that the plan, once implemented, can still be modified in the future as needed. “Regulatory plans are not written in stone,” he assured. 

That’s good news for those from the communities of Samara, Nosara and Nicoya who expressed many concerns about aspects of the proposed plan

Carlos Valenzuela, who lives in Nosara, worked with lawyer Carola Suarez to present an appeal to the Sala IV constitutional court on March 9th on behalf of the community, denouncing the late notification of the meeting on February 25th, the limited time given to respond to the proposal and the difficulty people had in obtaining copies of the proposed plan to review it. As an environmentalist and architect, Valenzuela expressed concern about the generalities in zoning areas and the need for balance and more sustainable development. He said his main concern is “whether or not this instrument is going to serve for the development of each region.”

During the meeting on the 23rd, the concern raised by the ASADA of Samara regarding the need to protect the zone around the Mala Noche water table was recognized as a valid concern. Another major concern raised by people from Samara is that the proposed plan sets the maximum height of buildings at 36 meters (118 feet), opening the possibility for high-rise developments. 

Nicoyans at the meeting such as attorney Yuny Villalobos Morena expressed concern that the wording of regulations for the zoning in the area along the main highway where gas stations and hotels currently exist would render such businesses unacceptable in zone. “The reglamentation must be clear” Villalobos said, expressing her desire to have a futuristic regulatory plan. “We need to unite forces because it’s about our children and not see the municipality as our enemies.”

After the meeting on the 23rd, Jose Fernandez, representative of Inypsa, the Spanish company working with Nicoya’s regulatory plan commission to create the proposal, acknowledged that the proposal has errors and inconsistencies in the regulations that need to be fixed and assured that what people said at the meeting will be considered. He expressed desire to arrive at a consensus so that, when it is completed, the regulatory plan will take into account the will of everyone, including the municipality, the company and the community.    

Another Step in Relocating Those Who Live In Garza’s Maritime Zone

By Arianna McKinney

The presentation of the proposed regulatory plan identifies which properties within the maritime land zone (ZMT- Zona Marítima Terrestre) are inscribed as private property, which, for the municipality’s ZMT department, is an important step in the process of creating the coastal regulatory plan, organizing the maritime zone and relocating people who are inhabiting it.

Juan Carlos Oviedo Quesada, coordinator of the regulatory plan commission, estimated that about 2% of Samara Beach and 6% of Buena Vista and Garza’s beaches are inscribed as private property.  The ZMT department has now conducted a census to identify the people in Garza that must be relocated and are in the process of negotiating with them; however Oviedo explained that they can’t move them until the plan is approved. 

One person living in Garza’s maritime zone, who did not want to be named, said she was told that the municipality wants to give them lots in concession. She is content with the idea of moving since there are times when it is dangerous living in the beach, for example when the tide rises during a storm; however she recognized that others are not happy about the prospect of leaving their homes.



More Regional News

Presidency Asks Representatives to Revise Law of Coastal Territories

After several members of the country’s coastal communities presented their case to the Legislative Assembly, the Presidency of the Republic convened on April 26 and with two days of extraordinary sessions remaining, to discuss in the Legislative Assembly the project of Bill Number 18.148, Law of Coastal Territory Communities.

San Jose – Nicoya Bus Fare to Increase 1335 colones

Travel to the capital will be more expensive for users of route 503 that connects San Jose with Nicoya. Currently the price per trip is 3445 ¢. However, it will go up to 4780 ¢ since the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos (ARESEP) Public Services Regulatory Authority approved the increase on most routes of public transport sector in the country, including this trip.

Finishing the Montaña River Bridge is in the Controller’s hands

Although it was announced that the bridge over the Montaña River would be ready by the end of March, the General Controller of the Republic still hasn’t approved an increase in the budget presented by the ex-Vice Minister of Transportation and Public Works (MOPT), Maria Lorena Lopez. 

Security Vehicle Carrying More than $100,000 Flipped

Samara. On Tuesday, April 17th a little after 4 p.m. a VMA Valores security vehicle flipped while driving downhill about 2 kilometers north of Samara between the town and the gas station. The road was slick and slippery because of the rain, and apparently when the driver tried to break, the vehicle skidded and ended up on its side. 

Mel Gibson Has Not Paid Off Debt With Nicoya's Municipality

Although one of Mel Gibson's representatives visited the Municipality of Nicoya on March 30th in order to pay off property taxes, he still owes 27 million colones in unpaid taxes.

Samara Pays Homage to a Great Surfer and Friend

After burying his body in Carrillo in the morning on Thursday, April 12th, hundreds gathered on the beach in Samara in front of Choco’s Surf School at about 4:30 p.m. to pay their respects to surf instructor Jose Angel Lopez Castillo, known as “Shaggy.”

Police Apprehend Thieves with Help from Courageous Neighbor

On the evening of Tuesday, April 3rd, two thieves were detained by the tourist police of Guiones, thanks to the collaboration of a neighbor. Although a denunciation was filed with the Organism of Judicial Investigation of Nicoya, the next day the criminals were released pending trial since the 12 hours that someone can be legally held without a formal denunciation had expired. 

Urban Development Project
in Curime is Halted Due to
Possible Contamination

Nicoya's Municipalidad has halted progress on an urban development project in Curime. The main reason is the property's location, as it is adjacent to a stream that flows into the Potrero River.

Traffic Accidents Increase During “Dust Season” in Nosara

The excess of dust particles in the environment has not only affected the health of Nosara residents, but is also a determining factor when driving a vehicle as it influences visibility for drivers. 

Former Police Officer Imprisoned 16 Years After Trial

On Thursday, March 8th, Olman Perez Acevedo was arrested during a routine roadblock by the public force in Samara. A warrant was out for his arrest for a “simple homicide” that happened way back when Olman himself was working for the public force, but the case is far from simple.

New Waste Management Plan Offers a Solution to Trash Problems

A responsible and adequate waste management process continues to be an unresolved issue for Nicoya. This is evidenced by the closing of the landfill, on three different occasions, and the lack of a comprehensive vision as to how to deal with waste management in the future.

A New Home for the Healthiest Elderly in the World

With a cost of around 150 million colones ($300,000) the Centro de Atención al Anciano y Minusválido (Center of Assistance for the Elderly and Disabled) will be built in the district of Nosara, which will be located on a 1,700-square-meter piece of land, purchased in Bocas de Nosara, 50 meters east of the EBAIS.

Efforts to Protect Samara’s Water Source

The need to protect Samara and El Torito’s main water source, the Mala Noche water table located between Samara and El Torito, was one issue raised in response to the canton’s proposed regulatory plan (see article), which had the area zoned for tourism, although a technical report by the SENARA (National Service of Subterranean Waters, Irrigation and Drainage) specified that a zone of protection of natural resources should be implemented in the Municipality’s regulatory plan.

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