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Neighbor Presents Appeal Against Land Purchase for New Cemetery

By Wilberth Villalobos Castrillo

The motion of the Municipal Council to buy a property where a new cemetery can be built in Nicoya has met with opposition from the Controller General of the Republic and the neighbors of Las Brisas del Cerro, the neighborhood where the Municipal Council intends to buy the land.

Since last year, the municipality has received two orders of technical closure from the Ministry of Health because the current cemetery does not meet the minimum requirements such as the necessary distance between graves.

Anomalies During the Process
As shown in municipal minutes, since 2009 the Municipal Council has made motions to acquire a property to build a new cemetery. However the Controller General of the Republic in on February 15, 2011 ordered these procedures to be filed away due to lack of documentation and the absence of technical and environmental studies.


453 Million Colones ($906,000) Requested for the Project

Pro-Cemetery requested a credit of 453 million colones from Banco Popular, which is 103 million ($206,000) more than what was agreed upon in August last year.

The money will be divided in the following manner:
250 million ($500,000) cost of the land
100 million ($200,000) technical closure
103 million ($206,000) process of mass declaration of IBI (real estate tax)

A report presented this January by engineer Randall Guillen, coordinator of services and maintenance for the municipality, highlighted that acquisition of the land is technically "not feasible, since the information and the [environmental] studies performed are not convincing."

In spite of this, during the ordinary session held on January 25, 2012, the current Municipal Council unanimously approved the report of the Pro-Cemetery Commission of Nicoya to continue advancing on the purchase of the land.

In addition, Guillen, in his report, indicated that the Municipal Council should initiate the procedure of public tendering, thus complying with article 157 of the Regulation for the Administrative Contracting Law.

Santos Juarez, president of the Pro-Cemetery Commission of Nicoya, assured that "a public tendering cannot be conducted because in this case dealing with a lot, no one wants to take part to sell their property because they have to incur heavy expenses to take part." Some of the expenses include the land use certification and the sanitary endorsement of the construction plans.

Another obstacle to conducting a public tendering, explained Juarez, was the lack of time since "the technical closure of the current cemetery and beginning construction of the new one is urgent. It's for this motive that the motion was made for a direct contract," he assured.

For his part, the municipal mayor Marcos Jimenez commented that both the Council as well as the Pro-Cemetery Commission should handle the theme with caution and that he is awaiting approval from the anthropological aptitude studies, which indicate if the land has any archeological sites.

Neighbors Worried
The property that the Municipality intends to buy is registered in the name of Mario Rojas Huertas. It is located in the Las Brisas del Cerro settlement in Nicoya and covers an area of three hectares.

Noldan Piñar, representative of the neighbors from Las Brisas del Cerro, explained that they are opposed to the purchase of the lot because it doesn't have any technical study that guarantees the aptitude and quality of land for construction. "In winter (rainy) season in this property, great torrents of water run down from the La Cruz Hill. It all pools and the water doesn't drain," he described.

In February this year, Piñar presented a revocation appeal before the Municipal Council and the Administrative and Civil Finance Contention Court against the agreement of the Council to continue with the purchase.

The appeal requests that the Municipal Council annul the agreement, that Mario Rojas present the environmental technical requirements and that the municipality submit the land purchase to public tendering.

Piñar fears that the same thing will happen with the land purchase process where the new municipal garbage dump was supposed to be built: "The lot was bought without any type of studies and we still don't have a garbage dump because the land didn't serve the purpose. Millions that belong to the Nicoyans were spent for nothing," he manifested.


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