Nosara, General, Lifestyle

A Different Kind of Pollution

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

Around the world, residential seaside resorts impose regulations including maximum noise levels and quiet hours, typically 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM.  This year, there have been at least three concerts using amplified, blaring speakers that awoke the dead well past the ten o’clock hour, disturbing many hundreds of households and hotel guests.

This is not a permitting issue but rather an issue of decent, neighborly conduct. In all three instances—in both Guiones South and North—neighbors were not consulted and permits from Nicoya bureaucrats likely had no relationship to reality on the ground; that is, event venues imbedded into residential areas.

While Playas de Nosara could eventually be headed towards strict enforcement of what had once been simple common courtesy, it would be much better to discuss together sensible practices that keep our residents, family vacationers and late-night revellers in synch with our fragile and threatened Nosara brand.

Strict law enforcement has rarely been the answer for our community. Over time, we seek to solve our own problems with good will and reasonable flexibility. But sometimes, someone doesn’t get the memo. Obviously, locating event venues outside residential areas is simple common sense. But since that is not always possible, I propose an alternative:

Why doesn’t one of Nosara’s talented impresarios organize a three-day Nosara Music Festival for September 5, 6 and 7 or the following weekend) as a season extender?  Neighbors would know far in advance the dates, hotels and restaurants could post added sales and Nosara, as a music venue, could attract new patrons.  The 10:00 pm music curfew could be suspected for these three days a year.

A smart impresario or music committee could book 10-15 groups to play in restaurants all over town with a grand finale at a center stage event on the last night. This kind of annual event can be win-win, with promoter, musicians and venues all over town benefitting from extra business. The weather has been great in early September the past couple of years. As a season extender, it follows many successful season extenders, like the original, the Miss America Pageant, held in Atlanta City each year since 1921.

Otherwise, the music curfew of 10:00 PM—observed now by all our restaurants—should be strictly managed. It is both unfair and impolite to do otherwise. As many know from the past, legal action by homeowners and businesses works extremely well here when there is a collective concern. Businesses that are tone deaf to the problems they cause have tended to disappear rather quickly.

A related issue is light pollution. For those who enjoy the night sky and for the preservation of our visiting turtles, unhooded outdoor bright-lighting is a problem and is simply a waste of expensive power. Using appropriate down-lighting for outdoor fixtures is mostly the answer.

No one would argue for raw sewage flowing down our roads, but noise and light pollution, along with traffic congestion, a lack of sufficient parking, overflowing garbage containers at the beach, dust, water shortages, burglaries and home invasions, land theft, illegal construction, insensitive land uses and improper set-backs are not unusual, but simply typical of those resorts that have lost control of their product and are too timid to call out its bad actors.

With growth continuing and inevitable, too few of our residents are struggling against too many problems. NCA and other organizations need more volunteer help. Eventually, these problems take a toll on property values, business receipts and, most importantly, the kind of place that drew us to Nosara in the first place.

And yes, we have an enviable reputation for volunteerism, protecting wildlife and the environment. In most areas of our daily life, these selfless acts of generosity distinguish Nosara from the rest. But large problems come to places that become too popular, too fast, with over-crowding and a lack of planning around those issues that may seem intractable.

There are solutions, but the process is often difficult, always expensive and typically require a stretch of time. As I have written before, the cost of living here will go up if we want the same level of basic services that we enjoyed in the cities and towns where we once lived—water, waste management, road maintenance and dust suppression, law enforcement and a rising quality of life for our low income neighbors—we will need to pay the price. That has always been the Nosara Way and it’s more important than ever that we consider the large looming issues impacting the long-term challenges of our community.