OCTOBER 15, 2007 -
Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa
Maya, - Mahahual / Mahajual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera
- Xcalak and other points along the coast
Oct 15, 2007 **************************
- Forum: Just Chatting
- Happenings in Mahahaul
- Permits for beach restoration
- Resurveying your property
- Crocodile sightings (and other odd animal behavior post Dean)
- Great online Maps of Mexican states
- Salt hardy plants
- Caring for Hurricane-Damaged Palms
- Overseas absentee voting information for the 2008 Primary and General
- Uvero neighborhood association - last call
Its now been 6 weeks since Dean and we are definitely in Recovery!
That feels good to say. Not only do we all have bathrooms now, but we
all have hot showers! Here at MBG, we have managed to screen off our
kitchen area while we wait for doors and windows and we've restored
most of the underground water and electrical lines. We are still running
off limited power because we are struggling to get the parts to hook
our solar panels back up, but things get better ever day. I can officially
say we aren't camping out any more because as of last week I no longer
have to carry water into the kitchen. Meanwhile, post-Dean recovery
continues to bring out the best and worst of people (sounds faintly
like Katrina on a much smaller scale?). People who are staying in the
area are being proactive, more restaurants are open than there used
to be on a non-cruise ship day and people are putting things back together.
New casitas in Mahahual continue to go up at an accelerated pace and
rebuilding is going on everywhere.
Cleaning things up at MBG
We still have not seen any government aid but have long given up on
that. However difficult, once you reconcile to be self-sufficient and
bite the bullet it actually feels pretty liberating. Thanks to the many
generous people who have helped, even in small ways - we are progressing
forward! Its a testament to the type of people who purchased or will
purchase property here and are our future neighbors. Its probably a
lesson for all of us living out here. We are all still trying to get
electricity and when we get past this recovery stage it will be a priority
again, but its nice to know we can function off line. By the way, I'd
like to put a plug in for the CFE /Mexican power company. They were
amazing. I've never paid much attention to how power companies operate
in the states, but the CFE's handling of this emergency was flawless.
Even before it hit, hundreds of trucks were ready in Carrillo Puerto
just waiting to find out where it would hit. They were already working
the next morning putting up temporary power poles. In less than a week
they had power to Mahahual, were reconstructing the power lines to Uvero
and taking down the rubble and putting up new high power lines along
Cafetal. It only took them a couple of weeks to accomplish everything.
They must have good project managers! I salute them and its nice to
know something is this efficient here in Quintana Roo. Can't wait until
we have electricity.
Archived newsletters can be accessed at this link (many now with pictures)
FORUM: JUST CHATTING
I want to thank everyone for their discussions on the hurricane Dean
forum. A lot of good information was posted there and continues to be.
After the hurricane discussions petered out, non-Dean related topics
cropped up. We created a new forum "just chatting" so that
people could post anything they wanted that was non-topic related. Check
it out and post your comments.
HAPPENINGS IN MAHAHUAL
Lots of things are happening in Mahahual.
- The first thing you will notice is a mountain of Sand. The speed
of delivery and volume of sand that was deposited was astounding.
I'm sure once the Malecon is finished, the sand will be spread on
the beaches of Mahahaul (which you will remember, didn't really have
a sandy beach). The sand originated from the excess sand on the roads
in Uvero. If you go to the web version of this email, there are pictures
of the mountain of sand.
Mahahual's ountain of sand on the left (and they are still collecting)-
view from lighthouse
- Construction in the Casitas - there are still lots of houses going
up in the area around the pier. Several new homes started since Dean
and are rapidly rising.
- The ADO Bus service is on the same schedule as before Dean with
service to both Cancun and Chetumal
- The beach road in front of Super Carolinas is closed for construction
of Malecon. I can't see any actual construction yet other than a lot
of "no passe" signs.
- Saturday Oct. 13, there was a Dive organized to try and bring business
back to Mahahual. This was a major event because many boats and equipment
were ruined. Hopefully this will grow to become a yearly event. This
is a slow time of year and the perfect thing to do in October. The
water was glass that day, although cloudy.
- The lighthouse certainly seems to be a hub of activity - aside from
the mountain of sand that is piled there, the road leading north from
the Lighthouse shows major changes. Costa
Maya Villas condominium project started excavation a couple of
weeks ago. We'll be watching this closely because it is the first
of its kind here and hopefully will set a standard for other projects.
Benquesoya the area between the light house and the port seen in the
Pictures of the Mall at the dock in the distance. This is the same area
as the image above only at ground level.
PERMITS FOR BEACH RESTORATION
We finally have concrete information on permits for beach restoration.
You do need to get a permit to restore your beach and plants. While
the permit can be done at any time, it is free right now. We are not
certain when this will expire. AT first it was reported in the paper
that the free permits were available 90 days form the hurricane. There
may be an extension of another 90 days, but we are not certain. We
suggest you do it now. We have heard that if you want to restore the
level of the beach and clean things up later, it will require an environmental
impact study. The logic is as follows: Dean impacted the environment
so severely that currently there is no need for a property owner to
get an environmental impact study. They do want to track the activity,
however. With the permit you can restore your beach and plants and
if you have mangroves on your property you can remove debris and dead
mangroves. Over time, plants start growing back, nature takes over
and the environment stabilizes. Once you have the permit, you have
some time to restore your beach - at least 6 months, but we are not
certain what this time length is as they seem to be formulating policy
- remember it has been over 50 years since something like this has
hit the southern coast of Quintana Roo - and nothing quite this severe
has damaged the environment like this. Without the permit, at some
point you will have to get an environmental impact study if you want
to restore your beach. This can be in the thousands of dollars.
Answers to help you obtain permits (Please study the following before
- The permit is free for unimproved land, but a biologist must file
the report for you.
- The group rate for the report or tramit people in this area is $300
- Non group rate is $600.
- If you have multiple lots, there must be a permit filed for each
lot (contact us about this since there may
- be some economies for multiple lots)
- Once the report is filed, you can begin clearing. You do not have
to wait for the actual permit
- If you have a house on your property, please contact us - homes
have additional permits
- If you are in the process of selling your property, this permit
- If you already have an EIS to build, you will still need a restoration
- In order to get the permits, the following are needed (your accountant
or lawyer has these):
- Copy of corporation papers
- Copy of title
- Copy of Catastral paper (also called Cedula)
- Copy Last Land tax receipt
- Copy of Environmental impact permit (SEMARNAT) if you have one .
- Copy of ID of legal representative or person with the power to sign
for you in Mexico. This may be your lawyer, accountant or other person.
- OR: If you do not have such a person, you will need to assign someone
a simple power of attorney. If you do not have such a person, we can
send you a form in which you can assign Kim Bales to be the power
for this limited purpose. It must then be notarized with an Apostille
in the US. Please click on this link or paste link into internet address
bar to find out more information about an Apostille -http://travel.state.gov/law/info/judicial/judicial_2545.html
) Please do not email asking what an Apostille is. Each State department
also has information about Apostilles.
- Before and after photos as many as possible. If you are in
the US, and do not have after Dean photos we can help you get them.
If you want us to help you get the permits, email me for an address
to send documents and funds.
Remember, there is a short time period on the permits.
If you need a bid on excavating your property and don't know anyone,
Costa Maya Land Restoration is doing work on properties here in Placer
next week (this is the excavation business run by Todd Story who also
is building Costa
Maya Villas) and we can ask him to give you a bid. It is cheaper
if you can get it done when he is already in the area because otherwise
you will be charged an equipment transfer fee. He is not checking
email regularly when he is doing on-site excavation and is not available
to take phone calls, but we can let you know how much it would cost.
Many of you have asked about what excavation would entail. Usually
this is bringing in sand to the elevation that it was before and propping
up trees. I've put some pictures of excavations on the Dean Costa
Maya Live website so you can see a beach restoration. http://www.costamayalive.com/DEAN-propertyRestoration.htm
If you have any of your own restoration shots please send them to
Restoring beach elevation in Tampalam
RESURVEYING YOUR PROPERTY
Most of us have lost our land markers. Along with that, we have lost
our visual references as well. where in the heck is my property? things
look so different that without a GPS you could very well not be able
to find your property. We suggest getting your property resurveyed
by someone certified by Catastral. We have already seen some last
disputes cropping up and Catastral was here in the area last week
resurveying properties in the San Jose area. They won't necessarily
survey your property even if you are next door to someone, but will
only survey the lots that they are commissioned to do so.
Everyone seems to be seeing Crocodiles. Everyone but me. They are
showing up in the sea, crossing the roads and hanging around where
they normally are not seen. Other wild-life seems to be cropping up
in different places as well. A Jaguar and cub were seen outside Mahahual.
We'll continue to see the impact of Dean for some time. As mentioned
above in the section on permits, Hurricane Dean had a huge impact
on the environment.
Crocodile swimming in the Placer tide pools
GREAT MAPS OF MEXICO
This great link to maps was posted on the Costa Maya Live forum.
It was too good of a link not to pass it along! These are 2007 maps
of Mexico put out by the department of Communication and Transportation
of Mexico. They appear more up to date than most maps we have seen.
SALT HARDY PLANTS
After the wall of sea water washed through here I noticed that some
plants recovered quickly, some are just starting to leaf out and others
are rotting at the centers and will never recover. Aside from the
fact that many are laying sideways, there is the issue of salt tolerance.
some plants just don't like salt spray and salt water. Salt tolerance
of a plant relates to resistance and ability to grow under conditions
of (1) high winds, (2) salt spray, (3) alkaline soils, and (4) infertile,
sandy soils. The tolerance of a given plant to salt may be affected
if any of the four conditions become extreme (this doesn't even mention
a wall of salt water accosting them). Everyone on the Costa Maya got
some salt water, even if it was only a few inches. As I am thinking
of reforesting my property (see article on permits above), I may make
some new decisions based on salt tolerance. When Wilma came through
two years ago, we had about 3 inches of water surging to the back
of the property. Several plants didn't make it at that time. While
it is unlikely we will ever get anything that is as serious as Dean,
it is likely that we will have surges of water that could kill salt
For a list of Salt Hardy plants and trees: http://www.hortcourses.com/ldscdesign/CoastalGarden.asp
From the University of Florida -
chart of salt tolerant trees and Palms
Also form the university - Chart
of salt tolerant plants
CARING FOR HURRICANE-DAMAGED PALMS
The following is adapted from The Disaster Handbook 1998 National
Edition Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of
Florida (developed by the Cooperative Extension Service for the benefit
of Floridas citizens)
"The first step in developing a strategy for salvaging hurricane
damaged palms is to assess the damage that they have received. Uprooted
palms, especially those most recently planted, should be placed upright
as soon as possible and replanted at the same depth at which they
stood previously. If necessary, support bracing should be applied
to the trunk. Under no circumstances should nails be driven directly
into a palm trunk. Such damage is permanent, and provides entryway
for pathogens and possibly insect pests as well. These braces should
be maintained for at least six months. Broken leaves may be trimmed.
uprighting palms at MBG
As long as no undue stresses were received by the bud in the crown,
blown-over palms should recover quickly once righted. If the palm
cannot be attended to quickly, the exposed root ball should be covered
with burlap or similar material or else kept moist enough to prevent
the roots from drying out and dying. If the trunk of a single-stemmed
(versus clustering or clumping) palm is brokenwhether completely
severed at the base or anywhere along its length, or splintered or
sharply bent (kinked) at some point along its lengththat palm
is irredeemably damaged and cannot be saved. Palm stems have no ability
to heal as do broad-leaved trees. Clustering or clumping palms, however,
continuously produce new stems and should not be removed, even if
all conspicuous, tall stems are badly damaged. Broken stems of a clustering
palm should be carefully cut out as close to their base as possible.
Even though a palm may have been left standing after the hurricane's
passage, severe stresses to the crown and, most importantly, the irreplaceable
bud or "palm heart" may have been experienced. This sort
of damage is not readily visible at first, but can lead to decline
later in the year, especially if disease organisms attack the weakened
tissue. Application of a prophylactic spray or bud drench to the crown
of valuable palms may thus be advisable to help prevent loss due to
bacterial and fungal rot of injured tissue.
Some palms, though standing, may have lost most if not all of their
leaves. These should be treated as above. If the crown of a palm was
partially snapped off the top of the trunk, recovery may still be
possible if the bud or apical meristem was situated below the point
of breakage. Such specimens will need to be monitored in the months
to come. Salt tolerance of palm species is not well-documented in
the literature, and the information available is often contradictory.
If palms were inundated with salt water in the root zone, flushing
with fresh water as soon as possible will minimize damage from salt
burn. Of course, this is easier said than done in the hardest hit
areas. (Luckily the Costa Maya had quite a bit of rain after the hurricane)
Fertilizer should not be immediately applied to the root zone of
any palm that was uprooted by the storm. A soluble micronutrient spray
can be applied to the crown at the same time as a fungicide if desired,
though the value of doing this to a damaged palm has never been objectively
proven. A light application of "palm special" granular fertilizer
can be broadcast or banded around the palm keeping fertilizer clear
of the trunk base) once new growth is underway and new roots begin
to emerge from the root initiation zone at the base of the trunk.
It will take at least several months for the re-establishment of overturned
palms to get fully underway.
For the following 1 to 2 years, hurricane-damaged palms should be
monitored carefully. Remember that stressed palm crowns may not immediately
show damage, but loss of the palm can still occur as much as 2 years
after the stresses are received.
- Assess the damage. Don't waste time on palms that cannot be saved.
- Get toppled palms standing and supported as quickly as possible.
- Apply fungicide to the crown and bud region. Micronutrient can be
added to the spray if desired.
- Do not allow root balls to dry out during re-establishment.
- Monitor damaged palms carefully during the next 1 to 2 years.
OVERSEAS ABSENTEE VOTING INFORMATION FOR THE 2008 PRIMARY AND GENERAL
The following information is from the US Consulate in Merida:
"This is a reminder that in just three months we will be entering
the U. S. presidential and state primary season. Five primaries are
currently slated for January, another 20 are scheduled for February,
and the rest take place from early March through early October. Registration
for the first primary (the District of Columbia) closes December 10,
2007. We encourage you to act now so that your opinion is heard
not only in the November 2008 presidential and general elections,
but also in the presidential primary and state primary elections!
The official U.S. Government website for overseas absentee voting
assistance is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website
Generally, all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who are or will be
residing outside the United States during an election period are eligible
to vote absentee in any election for Federal office. This includes
primary, run-off, and special elections that occur throughout the
year, as well as the general election in November 2008. Some states
allow overseas voters to vote in elections for state and local offices,
and for state and local referendums.http://www.fvap.gov
Voting eligibility and residency requirements are determined by the
various U.S. states, and are available on-line at http://fvap.gov/pubs/vag.html.
Your "legal state of residence" for voting purposes is the
state where you last resided immediately prior to departure from the
United States. Voting rights extend to overseas citizens even though
they may no longer own property or have other ties to their last state
of residence, and even if their intent to return to that state may
be uncertain. For those who have never resided in the U.S., sixteen
states, to date, allow eligible U.S. citizens to register where a
parent would be eligible to vote.
To register to vote and/or apply for an absentee ballot, you can
use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The on-line version,
the OFPCA, is accepted by all states and territories except American
Samoa and Guam. Voters from American Samoa and Guam must use the standard
form of the FPCA, available at the Consulate General or through many
American civic groups. The on-line OFPCA form must be completed legibly,
printed, signed, dated, and mailed to your local election officials.
Your state may allow faxing to speed the process, but you will still
need to send in the original by mail. Use an envelope and affix proper
postage. The official U.S. Government website for overseas absentee
voting assistance, www.fvap.gov, has a wealth of information about
absentee voting, including the state-specific instructions for completing
the FPCA form, links to state and local officials, and a downloadable
emergency ballot for use by those who register in time but fail to
receive an official ballot.
As a general rule, you should try to send in the FPCA so that it
reaches your local election officials at least forty-five days before
the first election in which you are eligible to vote --- ample time
for them to process the request and send you a blank ballot. If applying
for both registration and an absentee ballot, you may want to mail
the FPCA earlier. One FPCA will qualify you to receive all ballots
for Federal offices for the next two regular Federal elections (through
2010). However, we recommend that you submit a new FPCA in January
of every year, and whenever you move, to ensure that your most recent
mailing and e-mail addresses are on file with your local election
Under normal circumstances, most states and territories begin sending
ballots to overseas citizens 30-45 days before an election. However,
if you havent received your ballot within three weeks of your
states ballot receipt deadline, and you are required to return
your voted ballot by mail, you should download, complete, sign, date,
and send in a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), available at
http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/onlinefwab.html. Make sure it is witnessed
if required by your state. If you subsequently receive your regular
absentee ballot, execute it and return it regardless of when you receive
it. Court decisions sometimes require late counting of ballots voted
by Election Day, but received by local election officials for a specified
period of time following Election Day.
The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Merida is
also always available to answer questions about absentee voting. To
contact the Voting Assistance Officer, call 999-942-5700 or send an
e-mail to (firstname.lastname@example.org).
UVERO-PULTICUB NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: LAST CALL
This message is from Pam Laurion:
"After taking a break from Hurricane Dean, I am finally ready
to move forward with the neighborhood association. This is The LAST
CALL for anyone who wants to join. I will need the following info
to submit to the attorney.
- full name
- date of birth
- name of corporation
Please send all info to me at email@example.com. "
The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims that the information
here is completely true. I am not a news reporter, Spanish is not
my native language, the newspapers are notorious for not verifying
information and this is not my primary business, but rather a service
to the neighborhood. If you find something untrue PLEASE let me know
and I will print a disclaimer. I try to verify the information but
even the newspaper prints up rumors, so I can only report what I read
Until Next month...
Regards from your Costa Maya Neighbor
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya