President OKs law protecting maritime zone homes

President Laura Chinchilla signed another law Tuesday that is designed to protect homes and businesses that are now in the country’s maritime zone.

The measure allows these property owners to apply for a concession and allows the state to make investments in such areas for the social good.

The maritime zone is in two parts. The first section is from mean high tide to 100 meters inshore. The rest is the next 200 meters.

There are many buildings that either predated the law creating the zone or that were constructed illegally.

The new law protects these structures. However, unless there is a valid concession given by the local municipality, the owners cannot make additions, said Casa Presidencial in explaining the law.

Ms. Chinchilla called the prior situation an injustice because municipalities frequently were ordered to destroy property that was in the restricted zone.

In some cases entire communities fall in this category.

Popular beach businesses in Tamarindo and Quepos have fallen to the bulldozer in recent years because of the maritime zone law. On the Caribbean coast, hotels have been destroyed.

Casa Presidencial said that officials do not expect more invasions of the land by those who might take advantage of this law.

The expectation that the state will make investments around these protected homes means that regular water and possibly sewer service will be provided.

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