While Nicoyans Clamor for Housing, Two Projects Are About to Fall Through

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According to the records of housing requests in the canton of Nicoya, there are more than 3,000 families waiting for decent housing, and while this is the case, some housing projects such as Anexion in Matambas, Florida Verde and Nosara are about to be discarded due to the excessive amount of paperwork.

The company Alnitzy S.A. from Heredia was in charge of the Anexion project and, during the first phase, wanted to build 50 homes in the Matambas area, 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) northeast of downtown Nicoya. However, due to the lack of water permits, the company had to abandon the initiative in mid 2014, claiming they could not wait longer.

According to Mario Fonseca, director of Evicem, the development company in charge of the construction plans, Matambas has a well that is 35 feet deep, sufficient to supply water to the community. However, AyA has not done a feasibility study for the well.

For his part, Alberto Valerio, director of Alnitzy S.A., explained that a deadline of July 31st was established for AyA to provide an answer to the problem, and since it wasn’t done, the company aborted the project.

The projects in Nosara and Florida could have similar luck if they don’t receive an endorsement from the Ministry of Housing in the next few months. In both cases, the paperwork was started more than two and a half years ago and, according to Fonseca, a new requirement always pops up, delaying the projects.

In Nosara, the project would benefit 50 families in the community of San Pedro, located between the Los Arenales intersection and San Juan. The Florida project would be for the same number of houses, near San Antonio of Nicoya.

Fonseca affirmed that if the Ministry of Housing does not give their endorsement soon, the company will abandon the initiative.

“It’s exhausting, fighting for more than two years. We have been complying with the requirements that they ask of us and new things always come up. In the end, we are left with the satisfaction of having fought as much as we could to help people, but there’s no point continuing to invest if there is no political will to get things done,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca said that in the cases of Florida and Nosara, the documentation already met the requirements, but now they have been told that they need to change the easement to a public road, which involves widening the road from 6 to 14 meters (from about 19 to 46 feet), eliminating several lots, doing new measurement procedures and incurring additional costs.

Marco Avila, president of the Nosara Integral Development Association, expressed frustration regarding the slow progress of these processes.

“Unfortunately dirty bureaucracy exists in the public administration. How there are so many obstacles to be able to develop a housing project when there is such need for housing can’t be explained. We have been fighting for a project in Nosara for more than two years, which is a priority because families have been affected since the earthquake, and here we are waiting,” said Avila.

For her part, the vice minister of housing, Ana Cristina Trejos, said that, in the cases of Florida and Nosara, they are studying the possibility of being able to pass these projects just the way they are planned.

“We are analyzing these cases because apparently they have lot demarcation and plans, and to change to a public road, they would have to modify measurements. Therefore we are going to consider the possibility that at least these ones are approved under these conditions,” Trejos said.

Last December, the municipalidad formed a housing committee and, according to Juan Luis Aguirre, president of the municipal council, it is already working with some projects like La Granja, which aims to develop the first phase of 50 homes, and a similar project in the Chorotega neighborhood.

Another project in process is in Garza Beach, which is in the studies phase and would benefit some 120 local families and will be funded by Mutual Alajuela. According to Edith Castillo, promoter of the project, at this point it has the feasibility studies.