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Municipality Looks to Recover Green Zones and Public Areas

By Arianna McKinney

The municipality is trying to sort out registries of lands in Garza, Nosara and Samara that are improperly registered. The lands include green zones, public property and streets in Samara and Nosara, as well as concessionable lands in the maritime zone of Garza.

Mayer Marcos Jimenez indicated that the department of land registry is studying the matter and they believe that by March of 2013 they will have all the necessary information to present the issue to the attorney general in order to unregister the properties that are improperly registered.

Byron Rosales, engineer for the municipal department of land registry, explained that when a finca madre (unsubdivided property) is divided into smaller properties, the law of urban planning stipulates that 10% of the land should be allocated as green areas, public streets and community areas.


He said that in some cases this law was respected, but in other cases there are doubts that are being investigated. According to the Regulation on Fractioning and Urbanization (Reglamento de Fraccionamiento y Urbanización), all areas for public use should be transferred to municipal domain.

The American Project's Green Zones
Mayor Jimenez explained that when the area known as the American Project was created in Guiones and Pelada beach inside the District of Nosara, the municipality at the time overlooked the concept of urbanization. According to Jimenez, this permitted unscrupulous people to register green zones and public lands under corporations and private names. "The concept that the municipality has is to recover and beautify [these lands] for everyone," Jimenez stated.

Initially approximately 150 hectares of green areas and parklands, areas allotted to remain wild, were in the name of Amigos de Nosara S.A., a company that has since been dissolved. In 2004 the green zones were donated to the Nosara Civic Association, a nonprofit organization.

In the January 2004 issue of VON, the NCA reported that the green spaces had suffered due to unscrupulous real estate deals, squatters and property owners moving fence lines. In June of 2004, in light of rumors that Amigos of Nosara was selling the parklands, the NCA declared that"the 'parklands' are and will always be 'parklands' and never will be sold". And in December of 2004, NCA affirmed that, under the donation agreement, "the areas are the be held in trust forever, never to be altered from their natural state, even in the unlikely event of the NCA being dissolved, provisions have been made to protect these areas." The NCA affirmed that parkland boundaries had been identified and cleared and that property owners would be asked to return fence lines to the correct positions. In addition, walking and riding trails would be extended for enjoyment of the general public.

Bobbi Johnson, current secretary of the NCA, who has been a member of the board for 18 years, related that the NCA received the green zones from Amigos de Nosara in 2004 and that the zones are all under the Blue Flag program and are under the the National Fund of Forestry Financing (FONAFIFO), a protection program of MINAET. She affirmed that ecological registrations prevent the NCA from selling or developing any of these lands. They are always to be "green" and can only be used for "community good," such as well or holding tank sites.

Regarding turning the lands over, Johnson said the developer of the American Project did try to give 10% to the municipality of Nicoya when the project was started more than 40 years ago. "At the time Nicoya didn't know that Nosara existed, so nothing transpired," she said.

At this point in time, however, she is concerned that if the land titles are turned over to the municipality, they might be developed, whereas she affirms that the NCA wants to keep all the areas green.

This, however, is the biggest problem, according to Marcos Avila, president of the Nosara Development Association, who affirmed that titles should not be generated for green zones. Avila affirmed that although the 10% urban development requirement was respected, these green zones should be in the hands of the municipality. Accordingly, he presented a denunciation against the Municipal Council of Nicoya and Amigos de Nosara S.A. on March 18, 2009, requesting a rigorous investigation of the case. Avila asserted that the municipality has not fulfilled its duty in claiming these lands. After some investigation, the case was sent by the district attorney of Nicoya to the attorney general in May of 2010 but still has not been resolved.

Avila's idea is that once the lands are turned over to the municipality, a commission should be formed to oversee the green zones in agreement with the municipality and the development association.

Samara's Finca Madre
What is now the town of Samara once belonged to the finca madre of the Castillo family. Cristina Castillo assured that the family is more than willing to turn the lands over to the municipality as soon as a legal problem is resolved in court and that they are communicating with the mayor about how to fix the situation. She related that they had tried to turn the lands over five times under past municipal administrations but things were not in order. She said that the school and church have already been signed over, but the park, the community hall and some streets in the neighborhood known as El Canto de los Gavilanes are still in the name of the family's society, Alcaravan 343 S.A.

Samara's syndic, Bonifacio Diaz, explained that these properties have to be in the name of the municipality and indicated that some projects that have been held up because of the issue of land titles include street maintenance, the development of Samara's park and the possibility of allowing artisans to set up tables in the community hall as well as opening another door in the community hall, which only has one door although by law it should have both an entrance and an exit for emergencies.


More Regional News

Fined Foreigners Face Re-entry Ban

According to the new Ley de Transito (traffic law), foreigners who do not pay a traffic ticket before leaving Costa Rica will be denied re-entry into the country on their next visit – whether by land or air.

Legislators Approve Moratorium on Evictions in Coastal Communities
“Decision of the President is Only a Postponement of the Evictions, Not a Solution” Gerardo Chaves Cordero (CIMACO)

The Legislative Assembly has approved in both the first and second debates a law that establishes a 24-month moratorium to halt evictions of inhabitants of special zones, including the maritime land zone.

Samara Discusses Disaster Preparedness

Although, the red alert was lowered to yellow and shelters were shut down, many remain nervous with so many aftershocks – over 1700 by Tuesday 11- and the possibility of another big quake.

Psychologists Visit Nosara and Samara to Calm People’s Nerves

On Monday, September 10, a group of 10 psychologists from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the College of Psychologists arrived in the communities of Samara and Nosara to meet with the populace and school teachers with the goal of giving them post-earthquake therapy.

This Was the Anticipated Earthquake for Nicoya, but Seismic Potential Remains

The September 5, 2012 earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara had a magnitude and location in the place foreseen by the scientific work published by OVSICORI during the last fifteen years. 

Effect on Tourism in the Coast Should Be Minimal

Optimism abounds as people in Samara and Nosara have assessed damages caused by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday, September 5th with the epicenter in Cangrejal of Samara. Some have commented that it was fortunate that the earthquake happened during the day since injuries and structural damages were minimal.

Was This the Big One?

Three days after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook the country, a lot of information has been received  and processed by the Costa Rican Sismology and Volcanology Observatory (OVSICORI); nonetheless conclusions are few and progressive. 

Nicoya Requests Collaboration of Civil Engineers to Facilitate Home Inspections
240 Homes Affected

The Municipality of Nicoya requested the voluntary help of associated civil engineers to evaluate the damages suffered by houses and buildings alter the earthquake on Wednesday morning. 

Bridges over Rio Montaña and Nosara Not Seriously Damaged
RAASA Will Begin Work on Route 160 on Saturday, the 8th

After the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on September 5th, the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) assured that the bridges over Río Montaña and Nosara River not only withstood the strong shaking of the quake and aftershocks, but additionally the structures don’t show severe damages.

Not Everyone Can Return to Daily Life After Earthquake

Although aftershocks continue to be felt constantly—now numbering more than 1,000—people are returning to their normal lives. For many, this is easy to do since their homes and businesses didn’t sustain damage or the damage was minimum after the earthquake on Wednesday, September 5th.

Video of 7.6 Earthquake in Nosara

Samara Remains Under Red Alert After Earthquake
Medical Services Are Limited

Still under red alert, 236 men, women and children are sleeping and eating in three designated shelters in the district of Samara, the epicenter of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shook and shocked many on Wednesday morning, September 5th. 

President Chinchilla Came to Nicoya to Evaluate Situation
-Vice-Minister of Housing inspected damage in Nosara

Thursday morning, September 6th, President of the Republic Laura Chinchilla toured various parts of the canton in order to evaluate the situation 24 hours alter the earthquake with epicenter in Samara Beach

Engineers Survey Nosara Damage

Two engineers from the Architects and Engineer Federal College were present in Nosara this Thursday, September 6th, observing homes and surveying the damage resulting from the 7.6 magnitude earthquake, which struck in the morning hours of September 5th, 2012.

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
Information from the National Seismological Network (UCR)

8 km to the northeast of Samara
15 kilometers deep
7.6 intensity on the Richter scale
Felt as far away as Nicaragua

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
7.6 Magnitude Earthquake Damages Several Structures in Nicoya

This Wednesday, September 5th a powerful, magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck approximately 8 kilometers northeast from the town of Samara, generating a strong quake whose force was felt throughout the country, but mostly on the Nicoya Peninsula.

7.6 Earthquake in Cangrejal of Samara
Municipality of Nicoya and National Emergency Commission Assessing Damages in Nosara

At around 2 p.m. a meeting was held with representatives of the Municipality of Nicoya, who arrived in Nosara to evaluate structural damages in the town in order to report to the National Emergency Commission (CNE). 

46% of Ticos Lack Faith in the Police
Opinions in Nosara and Samara are Mixed

The absolute trust that the majority of Costa Ricans once had in the officers of the Public Force has been diminishing through the years, giving way to an increase in the perception of greater insecurity in the country, according to reports from the United Nations Development Program (PNUD).

Nosara Center Asphalt Project Still in the Works

The project to pave two kilometers in the center of Nosara is being held up due to a funding issue in the municipality, so it might be a couple more months before the project can be completed. 

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