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Nicoya – Audit Report of the Maritime Terrestrial Zone
Mel Gibson Purchased Illegally Registered Property

By Emiliana Garcia and Oliver Perez Picado

• Due to the absence of a zoning plan, the concession was wrongfully granted
• Municipalidad must take over the beachfront strip in the Maritime Terrestrial Zone

  Unfortunately, Mel Gibson’s troubles don’t end, even when he arrives in Costa Rica. Although he is trying to maintain a low profile while recovering from the recent scandals in which he has repeatedly threatened his ex-girlfriend and mother of his youngest child, documents from an internal audit done by Nicoya’s Municipalidad show that part of the property Gibson bought at Playa Barrigona was illegally registered.

According to report number A/I/M/N:09-2009 of May, 2009, and to municipal file #694-91, the Playa Dorada Corporation, which was bought by Gibson in 2007, owns a concession for a 150 meter wide strip in the Maritime Terrestrial Zone (ZMT for its Spanish name) as is registered at the Registro Nacional (National Registry Office), however, the lease expired in 1999.

The concession granted to Playa Dorada S.A. in 1994 has not only expired but, in addition, the Municipalidad’s attorney, Miguel Guillen, explained that it was granted illegally. “If the Municipalidad grants a concession for the 150 meter strip in the Maritime Terrestrial Zone, it is only because the district has an approved zoning or regulatory plan (Plan Regulador) and, since there was no zoning plan, this concession was wrongfully granted”, stated the city council’s legal advisor.

The 1977 Maritime Zoning Law prevents anyone from “owning” property for the first 200 meters along the beach. The law states that the 50 meter wide strip of beach is a public and are never to be developed. The next 150 meters can be given under a lease or concession only if certain requirements are met. One of them is that there must be zoning plan that has been previously approved by the area’s Municipalidad, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), the Instituto Nacional de Vivienda and the Minaet.

Gilberto Lizana Elizano, Nicoya’s auditor, has made in his reporte, a final recommendation to Nicoya’s Municipalidad as to how they should proceed. The auditor’s recommendation is that the municipality should “proceed and normalize the properties that are not subject to concession and that, to this day, are enjoying rights of usufruct by occupation.”

According to lawyer Miguel Guillen, the Municipalidad must take over the 150-meter wide strip at Barrigona Beach, since it violates the Maritime Zoning Law #6043, which aims to protect Costa Rica’s most prized possession; it’s pristine beaches and the wildlife that inhabits them.

The Voice Of Nosara contacted by e-mail the Zurcher-Raven-Odio Law Firm, Gibson’s lawyers in Costa Rica, to learn if they are aware of the audit’s results. By press time (October 22nd), the firm had not replied.

In April, 2007, Mel Gibson bought a 163-hectare property at Playa Barrigona, located 11 kilometers away from Samara, for $25.8 million. Ever since, his visits have been occasional, with some of his celebrity friends, such as Britney Spears and Bruce Willis, seen enjoying the heavenly Playa Barrigona. He has also been spotted enjoying the night scene in some of Samara’s bars.

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Usually, when referring to an election, the candidate’s promises are the only thing that gets published. In many cases, the media forgets to portray the person within.

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