The Municipality of Nicoya and the Nosara Integral Development Association (ADIN) held a meeting on Wednesday, November 5, at the municipal building with members of the Nosara Civic Association (NCA) to reclaim the green areas of the American Project.
These areas, which exceed 80 hectares (200 acres), were donated in 2004 to the NCA from Amigos de Nosara S.A., an anonymous association that was later dissolved.
The meeting aimed to exhaust all avenues of dialogue since the three entities have been trying to reach an agreement for two years now.
According to the Urban Planning Law, any urban developer – in this case the development that was known as the American Project and is now called Playas de Nosara – must cede for public use areas designated both for roads as well as for parks and community facilities, at no cost. These areas may range from 5% to 20% of the land, depending on the average size of the lots.
The mayor of Nicoya, Marcos Jimenez, explained that, for now, they intend to do an inspection on November 19 and 20 to compare the plans that the municipality has with the current reality of Playas de Nosara, in addition to assessing which areas are designated as green.
Jimenez expressed confidence that they would acquire the areas. “We will have no problem acquiring the green areas. We should move forward in the process with our inspections, but we have no desire to have to take it to the courts. What we ask is to follow the law of urban development and recover the 10% of green areas,” the mayor commented.
On the other hand, Alvaro Quesada, lawyer for the NCA, affirmed that while they are willing to dialogue and work together with the municipality, the decision to sign over the lands would have to be made by the Administrative Court of Contentions.
“Our opinion is that for this to be valid and effective, it would have to be done in the Administrative Court… It is better that the solutions are defined in this process, (but) that does not mean that we are closed to the solutions. There will be solutions and there will be dialogue,” specified Quesada.
He also added that the NCA does not have the legal authority to solve the problem immediately, so both their lawyers and their members are researching the American Project, which was not developed by the NCA.
On behalf of ADIN, Marcos Avila indicated that they are waiting for the inspections to assess whether they will take legal action.
“What is going to proceed, which is what the Municipality ruled, is to conduct a field visit, see the areas, do some inspections of the green areas and even the public roads and then continue with the dialogue. I think we should exhaust the [route of] dialogue and the process will indicate at what point to act or if there is no need to act,” said the community leader.
Areas of Contention
According to a report in the Voice of Nosara in 2012, then secretary of the board of the NCA, Bobbi Johnson, explained that the association had received the green areas from Amigos de Nosara, and that all these areas are under the Blue Flag program and the National Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO– Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal), a protection program of MINAE (Ministry of Environment and Energy).
Regarding the possibility of transferring these areas, Johnson explained during that interview that when the American Project started over 40 years ago, the project developer did try to give 10% of the land to the Municipality of Nicoya, but there was no response from the municipality.