San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gov’t Resolves Property Dispute at Arenas Bay

Developers and investment boosters are celebrating a recent move by the government to resolve the long-standing property conflict along the Pacific coast in Tola, calling the administration’s efforts a very positive sign to foreign investors.

Government Attorney Hernán Estrada last week announced that a final solution had been found to settle the property conflict between an agricultural cooperative and the Arenas Bay development by giving the cooperative 25 manzanas (43 acres) of government-owned land adjacent to the development property. The cooperative had claimed that 103 acres of the Arenas Bay property belonged to them, but the government ultimately defended the investors’ private property claims and gave the cooperative another piece of state land.

“The message the government is sending is that it wants to find solutions to property problems,” said Lucy Valenti, president of the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR). “This is a sign of goodwill from the government and I think this will give investors a lot of confidence.”

Arenas Bay developer Armel González told The Nica Times that his project has also gotten back its environmental permits and will now move forward again, albeit “conservatively.” He said the Ortega administration’s resolution of the case is an

attempt to recover slumping construction and investment numbers, which have been falling ever since the government moved against the project in July (NT, July 20).

In a separate legal matter, González was found guilty Sept. 7 of injuries and slander for exposing an alleged extortion attempt by Sandinista politician Girardo Miranda, who allegedly offered to “fix” Arenas Bay’s property problem for $4 million.

González, who secretly recorded the alleged extortion attempt and is still waiting for voice analysis tests, will have to pay a $5,000 fine for exposing the alleged corruption, even if the tape proves he was right.

But he said, after that the case is over and he can go back to being a property developer.


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