New dispositions, which could be in effect this year, will regulate the construction of real estate projects in coastal areas.
The proposed legislation is in response to lack of urbanplanning, which has lead to disorganized spread of real estate projects. Among other things, the new regulation will determine how land can be used by defining categories (residential, commercial, tourism), as well as setting a maximum height for buildings.
The Act provides a 50 meter area for public use beginning at the high tide zone and it guarantees respect for acquired private property.
Although it does not repeal Article Two of the Agrarian Law, which private enterprise has called confiscatory, it does establish the autonomy of the Coastal Zone Law in Article 63 and legally acquired private property is respected in this manner.
The domestic business sector demanded that this bill have the support of all the sectors involved.
Entrepreneurs argue that if the law—which establishes that vacant lots located within two kilometers of the coastline and 800 meters from lakes and ponds become property of the state—comes into effect, it would generate uncertainty among tourism investors.
With the new Coastal Law, local governments would be responsible for granting concessions and permits for tourism development in coastal areas.
The approval of 71 of the 73 articles of the Coastal Law being discussed in Parliament would leave the granting of concessions for tourism development, service delivery, recreational uses and beach use regulations in the hands of local and regional governments.
Law 23 governing the allocation of coastal areas was enacted in the Official Gazette.
This law generated controversy because it will give property titles to land on islands and to coastal lands, recognizing anyone who has occupied the land for 5 years as the original owner.
Jose Leon Quintero of Prensa.com wrote: "The prices laid down in article 9 for those who have possessory rights are: $50 per hectare (one to 20 hectares); $100 per hectare (20 to 50 hectares); and $150 per hectare if it is over 50 hectares.
The new law will recognize whoever has occupied the land for more than 5 years as the original holder.
This new regulation, adopted on April 2 by the National Assembly of Panama, will grant titles to 22,000 hectares of islands and coastal lands, recognizing whoever has occupied them for 5 years as the original owner.
The Law of Coastal Zones that will regulate the use and access to the coasts of seas, rivers, and lakes would be enacted before Easter Week.
The President of the Commission of Population, Development and Municipalities and Deputy Augustine Jarquín Anaya, informed Elnuevodiario.com.ni: "At the maximum of two months out, it should be approved at the plenary, because it is estimated that it is a law that enjoys consensus after years of public and private consultation with different sectors, plus some coastal native communities."
The legislation will either propel Nicaragua forward as a property investment hotspot, or have negative repercussions on the real estate market for many years to come.
At the moment, there is little indication over how coastline property developments will be affected. Currently, building is restricted to within 30 metres of the shoreline, but the bill is expected to extend this restricted zone.
Nicaragua's Coast Law is likely to approved next month, said Congressman Francisco Valenzuela, chairman of the Population and Development Commission.
Valenzuela said the aim was to preserve the right of public access to the nation's coasts and conserve their ecology.
"Our proposal is that legally acquired private property will be respected, and the private sector is in favor of that," he added
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