New bill would sidestep bars to legislative building

Staffers at the legislature have created quickly a proposed law, No. 19.068, that would declare the construction of a new building to be in the public interest. The measure also would reduce the application of the nation’s heritage laws on structures in the legislative complex and those adjacent, such as the Museo Nacional.

The measure is a way to sidestep the rejection of the plans for the $77 million legislative structure by the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural. Last week Manuel Oregon, minister of Cultura y Juventud, basically upheld the original rejection saying that the law was clear on the protection that has to be afforded such buildings.

Involved are the Casa Rosada, the former Colegio de Sión and the  Castillo Azul, once the home of the U.S. Embassy. All are on the complex at Cuesta de Mora in San José.

The ruling on the building also noted that the modern tower would not be consistent with the other structures in the area, which is considered a tourism zone.

The legislative complex has been condemned by the Ministerio de Salud. Health officials have noted insect infestations, rodents, bad wiring and other problems. At one point the legislature was going to be evicted until an agreement was reached.

Any law that the legislature passed certainly would end up in court because some in the culture ministry are adamant that the heritage rules should be observed.

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