New legislation would protect property owners in Cahuita

There is another move afoot to declare Cahuita a city.

Lawmaker Walter Céspedes Salazar has presented bill No. 18.425 that would do just that.

The action is more than just a change in title. City status would allow officials to protect the many properties long held by families there from the maritime zone law.

President Laura Chinchilla has frozen application of the maritime law, but there is a time limit. She has been expecting legislation to rectify the problem.

The law forbids construction in the first 50 meters from mean high tide. Many properties along the Caribbean coast are in this zone. Elsewhere, municipalities, following edicts from San José, have demolished homes.

The properties in Cahuita have been in the hands of families there for many years. But most residents lack the paperwork to show this. In fact, many have no deeds or paperwork of any kind.

A previous law passed by the legislature made provisions for property owners along the Caribbean, and residents were signing up so that they could obtain titles, but the Sala IV constitutional court threw it out.

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