Sala IV affirms rights of those living along the coasts

The Sala IV constitutional court has rejected an appeal that could have jeopardized the property rights of occupants along the coasts.

The appeal has been opposed by the Cámara de Turismo del Caribe Sur, the Cámera Nacional de Turismo and the Cámera Costarricense de Hoteles.

The appeal sought to annul a provision of Law No.  9221 that was passed in 2014 to give some protection to those who live long the coast in what is called the maritime zone.

The Poder Judicial press office supplied a copy of a summary Thursday.

The appeal claimed that the maritime zone could not be tampered with. Opponents said that if the appeal succeeded communities like Puerto Viejo de Talamanca would be subject to demolition.

The court, however, affirmed that the law created a process for an urban use in the maritime zone. The law provides for a

municipality to create the urban zone and
issue concessions for occupancy. That was the concept that was the target of the appeal.

The law guaranteed a home of dignity and a means of a dignified subsistence and recognized historic occupancies along the coast, said the summary. The law was designed to solve the problem of the many homes and businesses that predated the declaration of the maritime zone in 1977, even though many of the properties infringe on the 50 meters above mean high tide on which nothing may be constructed now.

A lot of the property owners do not have paperwork showing legal title to the land even though families have lived there for generations.

The decision also said that public access to the beaches is guaranteed for present and future generations.

Only Magistrate Fernando Cruz Castro voted to accept the appeal, said the Poder Judicial summary.

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