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Senate considers bill to ban beach construction

Law would prohibit construction within 50 meters of maritime zone


April 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

A bill proposed by Puerto Rico Independence Party Sen. María Lourdes Santiago Negrón would prohibit construction within 50 meters of the coastal maritime terrestrial zone.

The "Law to Prohibit Coastal Construction of 2005" prohibits any construction, lotification, development work or project in a 50-meter-wide belt from the maritime terrestrial zone and also prohibits the issuance of any variations or exceptions.

The bill cites several different existing laws that require preservation of and public access to the island’s beaches. "Not withstanding these regulatory dispositions, with too much frequency the Planning Board and ARPE approve exceptions and variations to same," said the bill. "This Legislative Assembly believes these measures of exception have been abused, resulting in a virtual privatization of extensive coastal frontage zones, making their use and enjoyment by the majority of citizens impossible."

The proposal comes at a time when citizen groups have voiced growing concern over the construction of buildings on the coastline, most notably the planned extension of the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Isla Verde. Demonstrators set up tent camps at the site to protest the construction.

A coalition of community groups calling itself Playas para el Pueblo (Beaches for the People) have expressed support for the Law to Prohibit Coastal Construction, according to the coalition’s spokesman Ricardo de Soto, head of Puerto Rico Waterkeepers.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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