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Commission Reports that 90% of Proposed Regulatory Plan is a Cut and Paste Job

By Arianna McKinney

On Wednesday, June 6, the Administrative Commission of nine community representatives presented an extensive report to the Municpal Council of the Canton of Nicoya, recommending that the council completely reject the proposed regulatory plan elaborated by the Spanish company Inypsa. 

The proposal was presented during a public audience on Saturday, February 25th and immediately met with opposition from various groups in Samara, Nicoya and Nosara. The Administrative Commission was formed to analyze, improve and follow-up on the proposed urban regulatory plan for the Canton of Nicoya, based on the administrative resolution of the Municipal office on March 23 after a meeting in which community representatives asked for more time to review the proposed regulatory plan.  The Municipal Council agreed to an extension of 45 days starting on April 9th.


Guiones Beach

The commission concluded that the proposed plan is full of irregularities that make it impossible to implement and that many of the zone classifications don’t fit the current local reality or the needs of the town, meaning that many businesses might have trouble renewing their commercial licenses because the area where they are located would no longer be zoned for that type of business. 

In addition, the commission found that many of the documents are 90% copied and pasted from regulatory plans for other cantons, including references to names and places in other cantons or even in other countries. (To see the complete report by the commission, CLICK HERE).

As a result, the commmission has recommended that the municipal council not approve the proposed plan and that they send the report to public entities to take action against Inypsa. 

VON asked the commission about the municipal council’s reaction to their report. “We perceived that they reacted very well to our teamwork, that they are very worried about the proposal made by INYPSA and the economic, environmental and social impacts that this regulatory plan would bring if it was approved as is,” they replied.

The municipal council approved sending the commission’s document to the Legislative Commission of Public Cost, the General Controller of the Republic, the Attorney General of the Republic, the Executive Unit and the press for review. However, the council still needs to decide whether to approve or reject the proposed regulatory plan.  

Time and Money Involved

Juan Carlos Oviedo Quesada, coordinator of the regulatory plan commission and Maritime Land Zone coordinator for the municipality, did not attend the presentation to the municipal council but was aware of the recommendation to reject the proposal. Oviedo clarified that the commission of community representatives is not related to the municipal regulatory plan commission and said that what they are requesting doesn’t have a legal foundation. He affirmed that the regulatory plan commission has tried to incorporate the observations of community members whenever viable. He also noted that the development of the proposal cost a lot of money. 

The regulatory plan establishes what can and cannot be built within each sector of the canton. The proposal was prepared by Inypsa over a period of two years, with an estimated cost of at least $80,000.  This is only an estimate of the local portion of the approximately $92 million debt incrued at the national level with a loan from the Inter American Bank of Development for Inypsa’s consulting services. 

Although much time and money have been invested in creating this proposal, the commission of community representatives feels strongly that it would be better to reject it and start again rather than trying to modify the proposal because the methodology used lacked sufficient participation of community representatives and input provided by community organizations was not taken into account.  

In addition, the commission informed VON that the proposal is based on cartography that wasn’t updated, citing a letter from Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN- National Geographic Institute) dated May 18, 2012. “For example, a large quantity of properties that are inscribed in the National Register as private property and zones for construction they declared [in the proposal] as maritime land zone and protected,” the commission told VON. “This means that part of the inputs used in this regulatory plan haven’t been officialized even though the proposal of the regulatory plan has already been published and the public audience was held in which the proposal was presented.”

The nine members of the Admninistrative Commission are Anouk Studer Alvarado Jiron, expert on sustainable development and international administration; Aura Salas Vargas, social worker and lawyer; Byron Rosales Morales, municipal topographer; Elisabeth Fernandez Ramirez, legal expert in management of natural resources; Fued Ayales Matarrita, vice president of the Nicoya Chamber of Commerce; Juan Rolando Rodriguez Paniagua, lawyer and businessman; Wilman Matarrita Matarrita, lawyer and executive director of FEDEAGUA; Xinia Campos Palma, official of MINAET and vice president of the Nicoyagua Foundation; and Yuni Villalobos Moreno, lawyer and public notary. 

They also consulted various local experts on matters of environment, local production (agriculture, livestock and tourism), city organization and roadways.


More Regional News

Pictures and News of the Month

The Voice of Nosara brings you a brief recap of June stories you might have missed.

Montaña River Flooding May Wash Away Bridge Fill

The concern is twofold for the residents of Nosara when it comes to transit routes in their community. The roads are in poor condition and the Moñtana river bridge is unfinished.

Ministry of Health and Municipality Look to Eliminate Street Venders

Friday morning, June 22, a group of officials from the Ministry of Health and the Municipality of Nicoya decomissioned merchandise from a group of women street venders that display their products in front of the Court of Justice in the city of Nicoya. 

Wealthy US Citizens dumping Passports to Avoid Tax in Costa Rica

As taxes continue to rise in the United States, the upcoming expiration of the Bush Administration tax cuts and a proposed 55 percent tax increase on the horizon for the wealthy, an increasing amount of the United States’ wealthier population is disillusioned.

Health Department Shuts Down Artisan Tables in Samara

On Friday, June 22, representatives of the Ministry of Health shut down the tables where local artisans have been selling their wares. This is the second time the artisans have been shut down and left wondering where to go or what to do to continue working and supporting their families. 

Representative Mendoza Supports Nosara’s Demonstration

Juan Carlos Mendoza, legislative representative of the Citizen Action Party (PAC-Partido Acción Ciudadana), recently visited Nicoya. VON took advantage of the opportunity to talk to Mendoza and get his opinion about the possible demonstration by Nosarans and the project of the Costal Territories law. 

About 2000 From Nosara Will Protest on July 25th
• Demonstrators Will Demand Pavement for Route 160

Members of different social and community organizations from Nosara will march to Nicoya July 25th to request that the government incorporate pavement over route 160 in the budget. 

Nicoya Mayor Will Protest Against the Government on July 25 Celebrations

Marco Antonio Jimenez Muñoz, mayor of Nicoya, Guanacaste, announced that he will protest against Laura Chinchilla Miranda’s government, on the Day of Annexation because of the "deplorable state of national roads in this area.”

Pictures and News of the Month

The Voice of Nosara brings you a brief recap of the May stories you might have missed.

The Order to Close Pedregal is for Land that Was Not Being Exploited

Several Nicoyans are asking themselves how is it that the company of Pedregal can continue to work on the site of La Calera, at the entrance to the city of Nicoya. The reason is that the Environmental Administrative Tribunal, which ordered a temporary cessation of Pedregal in Nicoya, made this resolution due to a second site where the company was working in 2009.

Servicentro Nicoya Under Scrutiny for Closing Passageway and Possible Illegal Construction

Servicentro Nicoya, located 100 meters from La Anexion Hospital, is under the watchful eye of the Municipality of Nicoya, the Controller General of the Republic, the Environmental Court and residents of the El Carmen neighborhood. 

Nosara’s Economic Forecast Looks Sunny

As the dust from dry season settles metaphorically and literally, merchants and business owners in Nosara are counting their spoils.

Rising Prices Hurt the Pocketbook

First the price of gas went up, next the price of bus tickets and finally the government added a 13% tax on products in the basic food basket. It’s time to take out the calculator and grab the pocketbook because everything is going up in price and your bill could reach an unforeseen amount. 

Mystery of E.Coli in Carrillo’s Estuaries Goes Unsolved

This year Carrillo only earned one star instead of two in the Ecological Blue Flag program because of a study that revealed high presence of E.Coli in the beach’s estuaries. Although so far the ocean water is still safe for swimming, that could change if action is not taken to find and remedy the problem. 

Nicoyan Auditor Owes Municipality 15 Years of Taxes
• Municipal Council Approved Sending Case to the Controller
• Official Was Suspended for Three Months

At the same time that ministers of the Republic have been under investigation for evading taxes, the internal auditor of the Municipality of Nicoya, Gilberto Lizano Elizondo, has also been under investigation for evading real estate taxes since 1997, as detailed in a report by the directive organ that investigated the case.

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