Restrictive land-use plan appears to be far from dead

A proposal to impose major restrictions on land development may be down but the concept is not out.

President Luis Guillermo Solís has only said that he will raise the issue with  Sonia Mon­te­ro, the head of the  Ins­ti­tu­to Na­cio­nal de Vi­vien­da y Ur­ba­nis­mo, the agency that put forth the idea as a proposed regulation.

The agency withdrew the 51-page proposal Friday after news stories about the plan, including one in A.M. Costa Rica, alerted the public.

The proposed regulations would have restricted development of vacant land and allowed construction only if population pressures showed a need. The measure also would open up internal streets and public areas in condominium projects and gated communities. The proposal gave vast powers to the central government agency.

Farmers and other non-urban land owners would be prohibited from subdividing their land and would be required to keep it as  agricultural, forest or vacant, said the proposal.

President Luis Guillermo Solís has not acted decisively on the project, suggesting that he might favor some or all of the measure.

He told reporters that he would seek an explanation from Ms. Montero and made the excuse that he was out of the country when the controversy developed. However, the proposal was posted to the agency Web site May 5,

In an interview Friday with Channel 6 Repretel, Ms. Montero said that to honor Mother Earth persons should not be able to do with the land what they want.

The Spanish-language newspaper CR Hoy found that so interesting that editors declared it the phrase of the day.

That was because the woman used the term Gaia, the short form of the Gaia hypothesis which sees the earth and living things as a unified part of a system.

The concept has been adopted and even altered by radical environmentalists.

Some lawmakers and development interests oppose the proposal. Some say the concept, if it becomes a regulation, would kill investments.

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