Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > November 2004

Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa Maya, - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the coast

This newsletter includes:

Hi Neighbors!

Sorry this is a few days late. There has been a lot happening here in the area in and around Mahahual and north to Punta Herera.  Please let me know if there are any errors in this newsletter and I will correct it in the next.  You can also view this (as soon as I post it) and archived newsletters on line at 

XEWO -- frequency 97.7 / AM 1020 -- Radio Mahahual, transporting from the heart of Costa Maya, where the sun rises.  The transmission is affiliated with radio stations in Chetumal and Playa Del Carmen and its goal is to educate people on what and where Mahahual is.   The first broadcast was aired on Saturday October 30th.  Currently broadcasts last for 1 hour and will be weekly.  As more advertising is generated, the time will increase until the station can transmit on a daily basis.  The cost of an advertisement during the time slot is $341 for three 20 second spots. The goal is to transmit every day.  The program consists of 37 minutes of news and information about Mahahual and Xcalak, cruise ship information, hotel information, what is available in the area, social information and gossip plus 15 minutes of fun and music.  

You can now get mail delivered in Mahahual.  Mail pickup is during the hours of 6-8 pm Wednesday and Saturday in Don Jose's restaurant, which is the Arrecife Restaurant in Mahahual.  You can also drop off and buy stamps.    

A water spout came ashore at about mile marker 20 km north on the Rio-Indio Placer beach road and destroyed Servulo's (the care-taker's) house.  Eye witnesses saw the funnel of water come on land and the tar paper roof fly into the air.  A water spout is  similar to a tornado only it was full of water.  Usually they break up when they hit land.  This one didn't break up until it moved on the other side of the beach road. Because this is such a rare occurrence, Servulo was a celebrity for a few days. 

No longer do you have to go into Chetumal to get Propane gas.  Tom Steddum at El Placer Del Caribe has worked out a deal with the gas company to supply propane to the area.  He has a store of tanks of 20 and 30 kilos size tank.  You can come and swap out your tank for one of the full ones.  Prices are comparable to prices in Chetumal but far more convenient.   

There is good news and bad news in this front.  The good news is that this community is very supportive of the recycling effort with $850 already donated toward the effort.  The bad news is that the property we thought we had secured is on hold pending permissions from other government agencies.  We were hoping to post pictures of the center on the web site in this newsletter and meet the Nov 6th deadline.  I am holding all funds in a US bank account waiting further word.  We will continue to let everyone know the status of the project.  The following neighbors have generously donated funds to the recycling drop-off center, totaling $850. No funds have been spent at this point.  I wish I had everyone's lot number and I would post it here so you can see how close you are to your environmentally friendly neighbors.      

Kerry & Shawn Kelly                             $100   
Ann Guerin                                           $25   
Gabe Zarnotti                                        $75   
Jerry & Lynn Zimpleman                        $50  
Jaquith & Jackuiline Berniklau               $100   
Robin Forbes & Camille Kielty               $200   
Ben, Josh and Sierra Tirado                   $200  
Vincent OBrien                                     $100

Most of you are probably aware that you will need an environmental impact study before you can build on your land.  What you may not be aware of is that you will need the study before you even clear your property.  This is necessary to prove what was there before the clearing.  If you clear before the study you might be subject to fines and it could delay your building or result in fines.  As part of the environmental study, they will first do a study of all the vegetation that exists on the lot.  All species on your property will be reported.  They will suggest which species should not to be cleared. There are some species that you cannot touch. For example, one is a despeinada palm.  They will make recommendations as to ways to  the beach from erosion, so it is important for them to see where the vegetation ends at the beach front and even where the turtle grass starts.  Your architectural drawings must include landscaping, including the original vegetation, both  as ornamentation and protection from storms.     The cost of an environmental impact study ranges.  A home will be in the neighborhood of $20-30,000 pesos. A hotel can be up to 10% of the cost of building the hotel. Because it is expensive, it is recommended that commercial developments and hotels conduct a Feasibility study.  A feasibility study is $10,000-$15,000 pesos and it will let you know in advance of developing your architectural plans whether or not your project is environmentally feasible.  The reason to do this is to find out in advance if your property will require special designs for water monitoring, marine turtle management, municipal and hazardous waste management and vegetation rescue.

 STEPS TO SECURING AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY:The first step is to have your legal representative submit a letter to SEMARNAT stating your intentions to build.  SEMARNAT is the ministry of ecology and natural resources.  The letter needs to include a plot plan with the intention of what you want to build, septic tanks, wells, etc. You cannot proceed with the environmental impact study without this permission  letter from SEMARNAT.      

Your environmental impact study will include chapters 

  • 1) Personal information, legal description, corporation, etc.
  • 2) Description of the type of workers that will be brought into the project. 
  • 3) Analysis of the zoning vs. what you want to build.  you will find out if it falls into the criteria according to the UGA (units for land use).  
  • 4) Description of the vegetation on the property . 
  •  5) Analysis of the impact of removing or adding to the vegetation.
  •  6)  Positive or negative impact of what you are building.
  • 7) Mitigation plan to remedy any impact. 
  • 8) Signatures and the background information of the person's involved.  Glossary and other formulaic information.  Multiple copies are created and filed with the property authorities.  To get the environmental impact study, you must have a detailed plot layout of your property that includes bathrooms, walls, structures, wells, septic system, pools, underground lines, etc.  Once you have all your drawings, the impact study can be done in 30 days. It is recommended that you submit the whole project regardless of whether or not you are going to build everything right away. You can still make changes, but you will have the permit to go ahead.  If you already have your architecture drawings your architect can start getting a building license and land use authorization (from the municipality office in Chetumal)  Urban development office of Chetumal.  Those require detailed plans.  In the past they would say that it is better to ask for forgiveness, but that isn't the case anymore. Fines are assessed by Profepa, the law enforcement part of SEMARNAT.

If you are thinking of investing in additional property or have friends who are looking to invest, you might want to hire a consultant to make sure that you are purchasing land that you can actually build on.  The zoning up and down the Costa Maya is complex and a single lot may include more than one zone.  The most obvious example of this is that property on the west side of the beach road may be zoned differently than the property on the East side of the road.  The environmental impact study would identify this, but for the investor, a consultant would help you identify this before you invest.

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