San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Plan to Build 3,000 Condos Rejected

The Municipal Council of Desamparados, a southern suburb of San José, Wednesday rejected a plan to build 3,000 condominiums in Patarrá de Desamparados for middle-class families, according to the daily La Nación.

Council members voted unanimously against the plan, which Housing Minister Fernando Zumbado announced last week before consulting the municipality.

The plan called for construction of 50 six-story complexes in the city by 2007.

The condos would have sold for ¢18-23 million ($35,000-45,000), with financial assistance for low-income families, the daily reported.

The Condominio Montana project sparked controversy shortly after its announcement when local authorities said they had not been informed. Desamparados Mayor Carlos Padilla told the daily Al Día his municipality had not approved any construction permits for the project.

National Liberation Party legislator Oscar Núñez criticized the lack of new schools, medical centers and adequate roads to service the thousands of new residents, Al Día reported. Local residents also expressed concerns about possible flooding.

The uproar brought the issue to the attention of the Ombudsman’s Office, which this week asked the Engineers and Architects Association whether there are any complaints against the Coto & Asociados Company, the apparent developer of the project. The Ombudsman’s Office also asked Technical Secretariat of the Environmental Ministry (SETENA) if it had received an environmental-impact report for the project, it said in a statement Wednesday.

Asked whether the government made a mistake in announcing the Patarrá project, Rodrigo Arias, President Oscar Arias’ brother and spokesman, told reporters Wednesday that “if an error has been made, the administration recognizes it,” and emphasized the government’s eagerness to address Costa Rica’s housing deficiencies.


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