San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bill on Maritime Zone Law moratorium moves forward

Lawmakers in the Legislative Assembly’s Tourism Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a bill to “protect inhabitants of special areas.”

The bill, presented by Social Christian Unity Party lawmaker Wálter Céspedes, aims to establish a two-year moratorium on “all evictions, demolitions and prohibitions of commercial activities and projects in the Maritime Zone.”

The bill now will be debated in the general assembly. If approved, it could prevent the destruction of thousands of homes and businesses located on the country’s coastlines.

However, Carolina Delgado, a lawmaker with the National Liberation Party, said the moratorium does not suspend current administrative or judicial proceedings.

Costa Rica’s Maritime Zone Law, passed in 1977, defines all land 50 meters from the high-tide line in coastal areas as public land and prohibits construction in that zone. The area from 50 meters to 200 meters is considered restricted, but municipalities are allowed to issue concessions to certain developments.

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