Dream or Nightmare: Remodeling in Granada

October 1, 2004

GRANADA – For potential homeownerswho have fantasized about buying a fixer-upand remodeling it into their dream home, thecolonial city of Granada is the ideal place tofulfill that goal, or drink yourself to death trying.This city by the lake is full of people whofit into both categories.Although setbacks are par for the coursewhen trying to invest, building or remodelingin an underdeveloped country with unknowncustoms and frangible rule of law can be afrightening prospect.However, learning the score before gettingin the game can minimize future frustrations.In Granada, which was declared a culturaland historical patrimony in June 1995, knowingthe rules means understanding the city’s buildingand planning code (Ordenanza para lasareas de protección patrimonial de la ciudad deGranada), published in the official governmentdaily La Gaceta on Sept. 17, 18 and 19, 2003.THE 233-article building code is law thatis subject to the interpretation of theDepartment of Urban Control andPlanification, located in the Alcaldía Municipalde Granada, next to the central park. The buildingcode, which includes zoning maps, can bepurchased for 100 cordobas ($16.25).The law delineates city zones intoHistorical Center, Area of Protection, and Areaof Special Arrangement, and specifies buildingand remodeling norms for each distinguishedarea.For example, in the Historical Center ofthe city, structural alterations – including subdivisionsor building a second floor – are prohibitedinside the first patio of the home,according to city architect Julia MariaDelagneau, of the Department of UrbanControl and Planification. Inside the secondpatio, homeowners have more freedom to playaround with walls, new structures or eveninstall swimming pools.In some instances, there is no second patio.Some homes are the victims of curious subdivisionsby siblings who inherited a large colonialhome from their parents generations backand decided to divide it into several oddlyshaped houses to accommodate all their families.ANOTHER stipulation to most remodelingand construction within the central part ofthe city is that the front of homes and buildingscannot be altered, so as not to disrupt the colonialatmosphere of Granada.The code designates buildings and homes,based on location and age, such as buildings ofHigh Patrimonial Value, Patrimonial Value,Historical, etc. It is imperative to find out whatcategory your home belongs to before planninghow you hope to remodel it.Before building or remodeling anything, allconstruction blueprints (known as ante proyectos)must be brought to the Department ofUrban Control and Planification for approvalby the city architect.

You may be interested

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets
Central America
244 views
Central America
244 views

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets

Noe Leiva / AFP - December 15, 2017

Supporters of the leftist opposition in Honduras blocked streets in various cities around that country on Friday, despite political repression,…

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada
Please Send Coffee!
1384 views
Please Send Coffee!
1384 views

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada

Gustavo Díaz Cruz - December 14, 2017

My mom named me Gustavo Adolfo. I was born in Puntarenas, next to the sea, but my home was in…

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico
Weather
1261 views
Weather
1261 views

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico

John McPhaul - December 13, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the horrendous 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…