Municipalities likely to get more time for zoning plan

Lawmakers soon will consider a proposal to give municipal governments four more years to develop a zoning plan.

The deadline for doing so was supposed to be June 9, but many local governments have not even started creating what is known as a plan regulador.

That means that without a plan, a municipal government cannot issue concessions for development in the maritime zone.

The plan in some municipalities is likely to include coastal urban zones that would exempt property owners from the usual setback rules regarding the zone. That means communities

where long-occupied homes are close to the beach would not be demolished.

The measure, No. 19.885, has been approved by the legislature’s Comisión de Turismo. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo also has a role in issuing beach concessions.

A summary of the bill notes that a Sala IV constitutional court case challenged the law, and many municipal governments were waiting for the court magistrates to make a decision. The court rejected the appeal and affirmed the law earlier this year.

Until the plan regulador is developed and approved for a municipality, any investment or construction project involving the maritime zone are supposed to be frozen.

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