(Nicoya-Nosara) The Municipality of Nicoya is in the process of preparing three roads that are currently not in use, which have been neglected by previous administrations, causing them to be limited or closed.
The first one is located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Nosara. In September of 2013, Maria Arrieta Ruiz, a local resident, filed a complaint with the Technical Unit of Road Management (UTGV- Unidad Tecnica de Gestion Vial), warning about the narrowing of the road.
In September of 2014, the Technical Unit requested that Mayor Marco Jimenez form a governing body to investigate the matter, and on December 12th, the members of that group conducted a site inspection and determined that it is a public road that is currently seven meters wide but was narrowed by wire fences. It was determined that the original width of the road there was about 14 meters.
Article 32 of the General Law of Roads says: “No one has the right to partially or completely close or narrow, with fencing or building, roads or streets given by law or deed for public service.”
Similarly, Article 5 of the Law on Construction states that “public roadways are inalienable and imprescriptible,” which indicates that these lands are public and cannot be occupied by individuals because of being property of the state.
Because of this, on February 16, 2015, the municipal council unanimously approved reestablishing the right of way on the route located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Nosara. However, to date, it has not been reopened.
Victor Reyes, in charge of the Technical Unit, explained that they need to perform the topographical demarcation of the road, for which they need the help of the municipal land registry department.
“We are going to go with the land registry department to go and do a demarcation and send them an official document in regards to this and they are consenting to cooperate, [so] we are looking for a date on which both can go,” he affirmed.
Road in Florida Awaits Demarcation
Another complaint was filed with the Technical Unit of Road Management by Yenson Mayorga Torres, a resident of the community of Florida in San Antonio, who requested an inspection on October 15, 2013 to reopen the road situated 1 kilometer east of the La Florida Community Hall, which is not in use.
Similarly, a governing body was formed to initiate an investigation and the Technical Unit reported that the roadway that is currently closed is public. In addition, the land registry department confirmed that the roadway is public.
Municipal officials found that the road was obstructed by at least three properties divided by a fence that spans the entire road.
Based on this investigation, the governing body ordered the mayor’s office to reopen it, and on February 23, 2015 the municipal council unanimously agreed to reopen the road.
In this case, the mayor of Nicoya also ordered the reopening of the road.
However, the reopening by the Technical Unit is still pending: “The information that we have is not clear and we don’t really know where the street goes and who the street has to be taken from. We asked for collaboration from land registry and they have now confirmed,” explained Reyes.
Additionally, Reyes indicated that although the roads exist in plans, they do not appear in the UTGV inventory, so they should be included.
Residents Affected by Road Closure
On the other hand, there is a road in Barra Honda, located in an area known as El Pital, that has been involved in a lawsuit since 2011 by Celestina Cortes, a resident of the area who alleges to the municipality that the road is an easement for private use.
For now, not reopening this road makes it hard for some of the neighbors who have to use the road to go in or out because the road is narrowed by almost half and is in poor condition.
Juan Cortes and his brother, Santos Cortes, are elderly adults who live at the end of this road. They must travel this route to get out to the main street and at times, the gate at the entrance is closed.
“There are nights when the neighbors close and the gate with a padlock and we can’t get out. In winter, marshes form due to the amount of water flowing down from the creek and we can’t get out. [The neighbors] aspire to close the road,” Juan Cortes pointed out.
For this matter, a governing body was established to investigate the subject and in 2012 determined that the road is public and ordered the mayor’s office to reopen it immediately.
Meanwhile, Alexander Gutierrez, legal advisor for the council, explained: “This is a road that is inventoried among the canton’s road network and therefore is a public road. We have no reason to argue about whether it is public or not because this was already determined.”
Reyes indicated that the matter is in the hands of the municipal council and that they have not proceeded with reopening it because they found an administrative resolution from MOPT that prevented reopening it at that time.
“We were doing research, and we found an administrative resolution from MOPT that referred to the case with criteria about how to do the procedure in the correct way. If we had reopened it, we would have overstepped MOPT’s procedures,” he assured.
In an act on Monday, March 23, 2015, Alexander Gutierrez, legal advisor, explained to the council members that “no acts of notification of the municipal agreement were found to the defendent [Celestina Cortes], a situation that violates due administrative process.” Therefore, the process of reopening the street should begin again to prepare the road.