Coastal Residents Present Constitutional Complaint against Littoral City Law

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On May 21, a group of Pacific coast residents from the Nicoya Peninsula filed a constitutional complaint against the “Law for the Declaration of Urban Areas and its System of Territorial Use and Exploitation.”

The law was passed by the Legislative Assembly in May 2013 and signed by former President Laura Chinchilla on March 27, 2014.

According to the complainants, the law infringes on the rights of coastal residents. “This law would expose the public area of the maritime land zone, eliminating its availability for use and collective enjoyment while allowing for private use through the granting of concessions, all of which damages the principle of inviolability of the maritime land zone,” the document indicates.

The case is being handled by the lawyer Ricardo Araya Piedra.

Previously, residents of coastal zones have denounced some business sectors to create so-called littoral cities, a mega port at Punta Morales and a modern, international airport in Chomes. They claim that the change will drive traditional fishermen out of business.

According to the complainants, the law contradicts the TECOCOS (Coastal Communities Territories) bill, which would protect residents of coastal areas. Many residents are facing a deadline of October of this year, at which point they would be displaced. Some 60,000 families would be affected.

The residents who presented the complaint to the Constitutional Court are: Noemy Peña Jimenez from Paquera, Magdalena Vega Figueroa from Ostional, Sandra Armijo Matarrita from Samara and Flor Picado Steller from Costa de Pajaros.