Matapalo maritime residents seek municipal support today

Residents in the maritime zone at Playa Matapalo will be bringing their case to the municipal council this afternoon to continue their campaign to counter rising property assessments and fees based on the valuations.

Although many of the residents do not own the land, they hold or are expecting concessions from the Municipalidad de Aguirre. The residents are seeking to receive support from the local politicians, because the assessments were not set locally.

The assessments come from a central government agency, but the 4 percent rate is set by law.

One of the lawyers involved in the case, Gustavo Álvarez, already has explained to the residents by email that the council can do very little except provide moral support. The meeting is at 5 p.m. in the municipal building in Quepos.

The Matapalo residents are perhaps the most vocal of maritime zone residents, but the problem affects similarly situated homeowners all over the country. Many have constructed luxury homes on the concession property.

The maritime zone is the first 200 meters from mean high tide. The first 50 meters cannot be developed, but the remaining 150 meters can be offered in concessions in a process that concerns the local municipality and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

One couple who hold a concession, Greg Allen and his wife, Lynn, have seen their concession rent or canon, go from $700 a year in 2010 to roughly $4,000 now. The couple live in the Yukon and have constructed a luxury home near the beach. They have been unsuccessful in court.

Appraisal figures have been distorted by estimates of value based on commercial uses, such as hotels.

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