True: Santa Cruz only has zoning plans along 21 miles of coast

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On December 11, Cartagena parish was host to six of the seven candidates for mayor of Santa Cruz for the 2020-2024 term, who debated their proposals for the canton.

Organizers for the debate asked candidates how they planned to implement zoning laws in Santa Cruz.

Social Christian Unity Party candidate, Pastor Gómez, said “We have 58 miles of beach and zoning laws for less than 20 miles of that coast.” 

This newspaper consulted the city’s Maritime Zoning Law (ZMT) and found the statement is true, but could be more accurate.

The city’s ZMT coordinator Onías Contreras said Santa Cruz does have 58 miles of coast, of which 22 miles stretch has a zoning plan. He also said an equal amount of coastline (22 miles) lacks zoning laws. The remaining 14 miles are part of land that can’t be built on because it is made up of mangroves, estuaries and forest. 

It’s true that we have a good swath of areas that haven’t been built on because of a lack of zoning laws. The city lacks the administrative capacity to implement them,” Contreras said. 

The ZMT department’s calculation is based on the 15 zoning plans they have drafted with the backing of the National Tourism Institute’s (ICT).

Some of them are along beaches like Penca, San Juanillo, Potrero and Prieta.

“The zoning plans will provide the city with the opportunity to have greater revenue streams, which is why they should be implemented,” he said.

Our methodology: 

The Voice Fact Checking, a Voice of Guanacaste initiative, analyzed the candidates’ proposals and chose a few that could be fact-checked against data and facts and not opinions. 

The selected statements weren’t the only ones matching these criteria, but were chosen because of their relevance for Santa Cruz.

The candidates who took part in the debate were Arcadio Carrera for the National Integration Party, Iván Ramírez of the National Liberation Party, Mauricio Mexicano from the Citizens’ Action Party, Pastor Gómez of the Social Christian Unity Party, Marcos Vidal for the New Republic Party and Jorge Arturo Alfaro of the Authentic Santa Cruzan Party.

The only absent candidate was Edka Contreras, who represents the National Restoration Party (PRN).

These are other statements that we fact-checked:

False: “Today we have fewer police officers and more thieves”

False: Santa Cruz City missed out on collecting $5.6 million in back taxes