|Proposed zoning reg
make some land unbuildable
By the A.M. Costa Rica
A proposed regulation by a government agency
unknown to most expats seeks to impose what
appears to be a national zoning plan.
The agency, the Instituto Nacional de
Vivienda y Urbanismo, said it based its
regulation on a 1968 law.
The regulation orders municipalities to create a
zoning map using the agency's terminology. If
the local government lacks the funds, the agency
will do the map. The regulation makes a
difference among urban, urbanizable,
unurbanizable and rural lands. The 51-page
document is available on the agency's Web
The measure already is generating controversy.
Channel 6 Repretel news aired a summary of the
bill that generated phone calls from expats
A principal concern is that developers or owners
cannot construct projects on land that the
Instituto Nacional de Vivienda y Urbanismo and
the municipality considers unsuitable for that
In addition, developers have to surrender 10
percent of the developed land for public
purposes. And this 10 percent must be open to
everyone, not just residents of the project. In
addition, the regulation says all roads must be
That would eliminate the gated community.
Developers probably would not want strangers
hanging around children's playgrounds even if
the space were designated as public.
The regulation does not seem to affect existing
|Much of the
measure is not unlike similar zoning and
subdivision rules in the United State where
developers have to build and turn over roadways
and parks to the local government.
The agency proposal also said that
municipalities that do not have a plan regulador
or zoning law enacted cannot make changes to
Farmers and other non-urban land owners would be
prohibited from subdividing their land and would
be required to keep it as agricultural, forest
Construction inspections still would be done by
The Instituto Nacional de Vivienda y
Urbanismo is better known as the agency that
will sell housing bonds to individuals seeking
to purchase or build a home. It also constructs
large complexes for the poor.
"The land, as a scare resource, ought to be
taken advantage of in an efficient and effective
way," says the proposed article 5.
The regulation also calls for developers to have
dwellings for a socially diverse clientele and
to install bike paths and turnouts for
The Cámera Costarricense de Construcción is
believed to oppose certain elements of the
regulation. Others are expected to suggest that
the regulation might better be a law passed by
elected representatives. The public will be able
to comment on the proposal.
The agency made no public announcement of the
regulations to news people.
The proposal appears to have been posted on the
agency Web site May
|11 raids net suspects
in wave of 25 home invasions
By the A.M. Costa Rica
Judicial agents detained three men and a woman
Thursday and linked them to 25 home invasions.
The armed home invasions were reported to have
taken place in San José, Cartago, Heredia,
Alajuela and Grecia.
Four other persons who are linked to the same
crimes are already under arrest, said the
Judicial Investigating Organization.
Home invasions, when bandits burst into an
occupied home, are a continuing concern of
expats, although Costa Ricans victims are more
Judicial agents engineered 11 raids Thursday in
Purral de Goicoechea, Coronado, Moravia and
Cartago, said the Poder Judicial.
Those arrested were identified by the last names
of Goñi, a 36-year-old woman,
Serrano, Brenes and Pizarro, the men whose ages
ranged from 21 to 30.
The four persons detained earlier were captured
after a home invasion took place May 14 in
Turrúcares de Alajuela, agents said.
Residents there were tied up.
The gang that has been the focus of the judicial
investigation spent time planning their
invasions. They kept watch on various
Investigating Organization photo
One of the detained men is escorted to
homes to determine the best time to commit
the crimes, agents said.
Sometimes they would spend as much as 11
hours inside the home, threatening the occupants
to surrender the credit cards and ATM codes.
Some members of the gang would leave to access
the bank accounts of the victims at automatic
tellers, agents said.
Investigators said they recovered items that had
been stolen in their searches Thursday.