• Agriculture and Industries are seen as sources of work
• Social welfare homes are being requested for the area's residents
For months we have been hearing about the need for a Regulatory Plan for Nosara. And so it seems that the moment has finally arrived and the process has started and which, according to the company hired to design and carry it out, INYPSA, will take at least two years. Representatives from the ASADAS and the Development Associations (Asociaciones de Desarrollo) from all the communities attended a meeting held on March 6th at the FUCAN.
After explaining what a Regulatory Plan is (see textbox) and after making sure that everyone who attended the meeting understood which are the steps to be followed (see second textbox), sociologist and anthropologist Mario Fernández “interviewed” those present at the meeting in order to better understand how this community wishes to auto-regulate and develop itself.
Among the activities that were mentioned as unwanted or undesirable is the disturbing noise from clubs and karaoke bars and the heavy traffic, since "vehicles drive by at great speed, lifting a lot of dust". Those who attended the meeting also expressed concern in this regard because the heavy traffic, in addition to being dangerous, is ruining the roads. On the other hand, industries that do not pollute the area and its resources are welcomed by the area's residents.
The community of Esperanza wishes to have Social Welfare urban developments for the area's native residents. Isidro López, president of the Esperanza Development Association, clearly stated that they do not want any motels, brothels or casinos in the area. On the other hand, representatives from Nosara showed no problem with these type of establishments but they did clarify that they wish to keep the commercial and residential areas apart from each other. Nonetheless, all communities agreed on supporting the agricultural production as long as it does not consist of crops that use large amounts of agrochemicals, such as pineapple and melon.
A widely debated subject was the protection of water resources. Fernández, from the INYPSA, explained that the advantage of a Regulatory Plan is that it can protect larger areas, even establishing limited-activity areas in those places that border with protected areas. In this way, places such as a landfill or a pineapple plantation will not be established in areas near protected water sources. In addition, representatives at the meeting mentioned that "they feel water wells are not being protected in the best way possible" and that "mountains and rivers must be taken care off in order to avoid running out of water." "We should have a larger number of reserve areas", they added.
Another important aspect of the meeting came up during the presentation regarding the Nosara River. Several representatives expressed their opposition to recent dredges as well as to the constructions that are being built on the hills, since many wastes and tree trunks are falling into the river bed, causing it to fill up, which will undoubtedly lead to greater flooding during the rainy season. They urged the company to consider "this important problem" upon designing their proposal for the Regulatory Plan. Lastly, the legalization of community areas emerged as a final aspect of the conversation; places such as the Santa Marta town square (plaza), the Red Cross, the Police Station, the Post Office in Nosara as well as some public roads in Esperanza, do not have a legal property register and/or property deed and therefore, their existence is not secured.
Main Elements of a Regulatory Plan
• It is an instrument to be used by local governments with the goal of regulating land use based on technical criteria
• It provides clear norms for residents and other groups (specific areas in which certain activities are developed, for example Industries)
• An adequate land use (for example, for homes located within landslide areas)
• It prevents conflicting use situations: for example, factories and workshops located in residential areas (which are incompatible activities)
• As in every law, it is effective from the moment it is approved and therefore, it can not be used to solve previously existing issues.
Steps for Presenting a Regulatory Plan
1) Technical studies are carried out (land and topographical studies, impact on natural resources, existent water sources, community evolution, etc.)
2) Results are analyzed and presented by the consulting company by the end of 2010.
3) A technical proposal is made to the Municipalidad de Nicoya (the proposal will state where certain activities may be carried out and where not to, for example, it will determine that homes may not be built in areas with landslide risk).
4) The Municipalidad de Nicoya will look over the proposal and will convene a public hearing for 2011.
5) The proposal is then sent to the SETENA and the INVU and, if its environmental viability is obtained, the proposal will be published in the official newspaper, La Gaceta.
*Regulatory plans may be revised every 5 years.
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