Sala IV rejects proposal to help Caribbean residents

The Sala IV constitutional court has declared a proposed law to help coastal dwellers to be unconstitutional.

This is the proposal that would have frozen demolition of illegal construction in the country’s martime zone. The measure was favored by President Laura Chinchilla.

The Poder Judicial said Friday afternoon that the vote of the magistrates earlier in the day was unanimous and that the constitutional problem goes to the heart of the measure. In the legislative process lawmakers can refer a proposal to the constitutional court before final passage for a review.

The court said that the proposal lacked a full
scientific and technical study and that it would have a strong impact on the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo.

Ms. Chinchilla has proposed a two-year moratorium on demolitions of construction in the maritime zone while a long-term plan was worked out. Under current law, the first 50 meters of the 200-meter zone should be public and free of construction. The remaining 150 meters is subject to concessions form the municipality.

Residents of the southern Caribbean coast are in structures that have been there for years but encroached technically on the maritime zone. Two hotels already have been demolished there.

The decision also has implications for costal dwellers elsewhere.

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