Costa Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa Maya, - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the coast
***********************Newsletter: May 10, 2006**************************
* Semana Santos
* Thimble jelly fish
* POET meeting in Mahahual
* SEMARNAT website in English
* Voting in Mexico
* Environmental impact -- no statute of limitations
* Names retired
* New development on the Costa Maya
* Spotlight on your Neighbors
* Properties for sale
As many of you have kindly noted in "are you OK?" emails to me the last few weeks--I completely missed the month of April. Please forgive me! During the entire month of April we were almost full here at MBG but now we can take a breather as we come to the end of a very busy season. The weather and the water has been beautiful since the windstorm in March and the normal influx of crowds on Semana Santos were blessed with delightful weather! Things in Mahahual are humming along and lots of things are in the works along with rumored new projects. I've included a section on new projects, but PLEASE don't hold me to any of it since this is Mexico and things happen on their own time, place and manner!
You can find this newsletter and archives of past newsletters at this location: http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/PropertyOwners_Newsletter.html.
Once again, people by the thousands descended on Mahahual for Semana Santos or Holy week. Car after car loaded with as many Mexican nationals as can fit into the vehicle and piled high with chairs tables and hammocks paraded into Mahahual to camp along the beach. Mexico is no different than any other country. When its a holiday, everyone wants to go to the beach. I didn't see the type of price gauging on staples that went on during last year's holiday, prices were up only a little. Hotel rooms and restaurants, on the other hand went sky high. There was one report of the restaurant at Tequila Beach tacking on an extra 90 pesos above and beyond posted menu prices "just because it was Semana Santos." (They quickly subtracted the additional charge when challenged.) Because of the shortage of rooms on the Costa Maya, a hotel room that would normally go for $600 pesos was $1500 pesos. The new Costa Maya Inn that I mentioned in the last couple of newsletters was completely full the last 4 days of Semana Santos with rooms even higher. By the way, this hotel is not on the beach, but does have fairly nice rooms and a nice pool. On Saturday morning as I went through the military checkpoint, 8000 cars above normal had been recorded. I don't know the final number, but last year the number was over 12,000. I'm sure by the end of Sunday, they surpassed the old number by quite a bit. The large number of cars caused the gas station to be out of gas, and people lined up for hours waiting for gas to be delivered.
An interesting side note is that the Quintana Roo newspaper reported that for the first time, a large percentage of the rooms in Cancun were occupied by Mexican nationals. This is a new phenomena post-Wilma and can be somewhat attributed to marketing efforts made in behalf of the hotel organization to fill rooms left vacant.
THIMBLE JELLY FISH
This time of year can be the best time to experience the water. Winds are down, there are few storms out in the Atlantic to stir up the water but it is also the time of year that you might see millions of Thimble Jelly fish (Linuche unguiculata) undulating their way to shore. So far this year, we have only seen them on one day. The following day they were completely gone. They actually look like and are the same size as brown thimbles undulating as they move through the water. They are primarily transported by currents and in our bay, they seem to be brought by a heavy south wind and current. When the weather changes, they appear elsewhere.
There are three stages of the Jelly fish -- larval, egg and "medusa." All three can cause itching. The time frame for the Jelly fish is from January to June. Now you can't hardly stay out of the water for that long of a period of time, so what do you do? In the first place, they are blessedly not always present. But when they are in the larval or egg stage you can't really see them. They are so small that they can bypass clothing and get into swim suits, rubbing against your skin. Your best defense is the smallest possible swim-suit or a wetsuit with at least a 1 mil. If you think that you have run into them, before showering, use vinegar or lime everywhere your swim suit is and where they may have gotten caught. I ran into a swarm of the larval or egg stage in late December last year and had no vinegar anywhere near. We did have some limes that had brought for drinks. This worked wonderfully and I only experience problems on a spot that I missed.. If you do have an itch caused by them, use Benedryl and cortisone to minimize the itching. The little devils are quite itchy, but usually only for about 3-4 days. This is the same animal that causes "swimmers itch" in Florida beaches. When they are in the thimble stage as they are right now, they are less trouble some because they can't get through clothing!
POET MEETING IN MAHAHUAL
There have long been rumors that the zoning along the Costa Maya was changing. The current zoning is based on the 2000 version of POET (the zoning regulations). A 2005 version has been proposed but not yet approved. On April 7th, a meeting was held in Mahahual to preview the new POET and take any comments, questions and protests. I attended the meeting where the number of presenters outnumbered the attendees. The presentation was quite interesting but based on the number of questions raised, I'm not sure how long it will take the final version to come out. Here is what I learned about the current plan:
- Officially there are 2011 inhabitants of Mahahual and 267 hotel rooms.
- By the year 2020 they expect to have 15,000 rooms (Cancun has 30,000) and 24,000 by the year 2025. 17,000 will be on the coast and 7,000 non-coastal (I guess the Costa Maya Inn already falls into this category.)
- The plans are to get people from Bacalar, Pedro Santos, Limones and Chacchoben to fill the need for workers. These cities respectively will grow in services and infrastructure to support the Costa Maya.
- The average hotel room generates about 4 jobs. High end hotels generate up to 12.
- There are plans to create 3 new population centers to house workers: Punticulb (on the border of the Sian Ka'an), Xahaychol (approximately km. 28 south on the Jungle road to Xcalak and at Zaragoza (the border of Belize and Mexico)
- By 2030, Mahahual will have 117,000 inhabitants
They showed the new zoning map, but didn't have the tables to go with it. New zoning numbers have been assigned. For example, we used to be in zone TU18 and are now in TU12, but we don't know what that means yet as they haven't finalized the plans.
There were over 20 issues raised that by law have to be at least addressed in a later meeting. Some of the issues raised were:
- The projected room count doesn't match the density that is being proposed for existing available land
- West of the Jungle Road, only Fonature has any density. This brought some protest from some individuals who own property along the road.
- The proposed urban plan for Mahahual didn't go as far South as some already existing businesses. This was a sore issue to those wanting potable water, and other services.
- The new proposed population centers are not close enough to the proposed higher density areas--for example, the higher density area of Uvero is 25 km away from both Mahahual and Punticulb. Punticulb is next to an area that is proposed to only have a density of 5 rooms per hectare. That is a long way for workers to go, especially in the hotel industry where people work early and or late hours.
- Furnatur zones appear to have 35 density while other zones the highest is 30. This didn't seem fair to many.
- There were many comments about the urban zoning of Mahahual -- this seemed to be a sore spot all the way around.
VOTING IN MEXICO
US citizens living in Mexico can still vote in general elections in the US. For additional information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program, please refer to the following websites:
Official US Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance: www.fvap.gov
Calendar of election dates: http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/prmarycal.html
Information on each U.S. states procedures: http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/vag/vagchapter3.html
Information about each U.S. states registration and voting deadlines: http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/prmarycal.html
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT - NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Contrary to what we have been told earlier, we have found that there is no statute of limitations on environmental violations. A violation that occurred in 2006 may come back to bite you in 2009 or even later. If someone tells you something is "OK" -- be wary, it might turn out to be illegal. Things like wells, moving roads, clearing land, building fences -- all might require permits depending on how you are zoned. Your Environmental impact study will include the permits to do all of this type of thing, but many people want to do activities on their land prior to the Environmental impact study. Please protect your investment and get permits.
SEMARNAT WEBSITE IN ENGLISH
SEMARNAT, the agency that grants environmental impact permits and is basically the Environmental Regulatory agency of Mexico is really pretty progressive. You can check the progress of your Environmental Impact study on line, but it is in Spanish. They do have a portion of their website in English and it is worth checking out (SORRY FOR THE LONG EMAIL ADDRESS! - YOU MAY HAVE TO CUT AND PAST IT INTO YOUR BROWSER, MAKING SURE THERE ARE NO BREAKS IN THE TEXT). http://portal.semarnat.gob.mx/semarnat/portal/!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLN4j3NQLJgFjGpvqRqCKO6AK-hnARX4_83FT9UIRWA_0IM31v_QD9gtzQ0IjyChMA22iszg!!/delta/base64xml/L3dJdyEvd0ZNQUFzQUMvNElVRS82XzBfUDE!
On April 6th, the NOAA announced that 5 hurricane names were being retired Hurricane Wilma, Katrina, Dennis, Rita and Stan. Since tropical cyclones were first named in 1953, 67 names have been retired (the first being Carol and Hazel in 1954), and with a total of five, 2005 has the most retired storm names in a single season (previous record: four in 1955, 1995 and 2004). Storm names are retired because they cause significant damage or fatalities. The new hurricane season starts on June 1, 2006 - only three weeks away. I've seen some forecasts that say there will be 17 named storms this year compared to 27 last year where the names ran out. I couldn't find an official forecast for the National Hurricane center, but I will announce it here when and if an official declaration is made. Meanwhile, there has already been one pre-hurricane season tropical depression.
NEW DEVELOPMENT ON THE COSTA MAYA
Many of you have expressed interest in knowing about any significant new commercial developments on the Costa Maya. Situated between the Costa Maya Pier and the new Mahahual signature lighthouse, Mayan Paradise Properties is putting in a development that includes a 46 unit ocean front shopping center -- Plaza La Costa and 18 unit condominium project -- La Costa Condos. The condos will be above the commercial units and have ocean view. They are also putting a paved walking path from the lighthouse to the pier to take advantage of the traffic from the pier. The US based company won't be taking any money until ground breaks, but if you are interested in investing, you can get on a list to take advantage of pre-construction prices. They have a website with computer generated images of what the project will look like as well as plot and floor plans. www.mayanparadisepropertiesinc.com or contact Todd@mayanparadisepropertiesinc.com.
There have also been "rumors" of a 1000 unit hotel south of Uvero Beach club being built by a large Spanish company. This rumor has been repeated in the Quintana Roo newspaper and even voiced publicly in the POET meeting on April 7th. However, I have been told by another developer that the Spanish company isn't satisfied with the amount of available land. Also, it will be awhile because there will have to be some significant investment into the infrastructure before anything can happen. At this time there isn't potable water there yet, although there is power at Uvero. We have seen some activity in the Uvero-Placer area in the way of some test holes along the jungle road being constructed for wells. When asked, the contractors only said they were drilling test holes. These took several days and some significant equipment, so we know something substantial is happening.
There have also been several new homes started in the last couple of months and those that were halted last year due to lack of Environmental impact studies have finally received their permits and seem to be back in business.
SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR NEIGHBORS: THE LANCASTERS
This month, meet the Lancasters, who are from Michigan, USA and have property in Placer, about 19 km north of Mahahual. You can read more about the Lancasters at: http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/PropertyOwners_spotlight.html
PROPERTIES FOR SALE
Since the last time I wrote this email, several of the properties listed have sold or are in the process of selling. I still know of several properties in the area that are for sale. All are north of Mahahual. Please contact me if you are interested. The Hotel that was for sale looks like it now has a buyer. If you are selling your property, let me know and I'll pass your contact information along to those who are inquiring. Please also read the section above on "New Development on the Costa Maya" if you are interested in investing in Condos.
Until Next month...
Regards from your Costa Maya Neighbor
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya
us via email at email@example.com
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