Monday, July 28, 2008

Huge tree, right in town

This huge tree is not deep inside a remote forest. It is located right in the town of Tamarindo. There are natural areas, such as the Langosta Estuary, that border the town and large trees such as this in the town. They provide a path for wildlife to travel and a habitat for the animals that we encounter frequently right in town, such as howler monkeys, raccoons, lingoes, and many birds.

There is a significant debate in Tamarindo about the amount of growth. Growth provides jobs and income for local families and tax revenue to support public services, such as education, health care, roads, etc. On the other hand, growth creates demand and need for more infrastructure such as roads, sewers, etc., and changes the appearance of the town. Tamarindo is now developing a skyline, with condo buildings as high as 10 stories, all within the last three years.

The President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, recently issued an executive order that is the equivalent of imposing local zoning on the Guanacaste coast, of which Tamarindo is the primary beach town. For the next four years there will be limits on the height of buildings near the ocean. Furthermore, developers will be allowed to use only about half of the surface area of their property for buildings, driveways, parking, patios and swimming pools. They will have to leave about half of the land area in a natural condition for trees, such as the one shown in this photo.

What do you think about such limits on growth and preservation of green space? What would you think if you owned property that you planned to develop? Does preservation of the beauty and environment of the area help preserve the value of the land to offset the limits on development of the land?


JM said...

Beautifull tree... and beautifull country! I've been in Costa Rica a couple of years ago, but didn't have the chance to visit Tamarindo, so i will keep on looking your blog to know more about your city.

Hilda said...

Not getting into the topic of our responsibilities to the earth (which will require an essay!), I think that preserving nature — especially in a town like Tamarindo — will actually increase the value of the land.

I really admire your president for issuing an order like that and Costa Rica's people (including the businessmen) for following it. Didn't you have problems with protests and such?

David -- said...

You are exactly correct that preserving the environment in the way development is done helps enhance the value of the real estate for all. Of course, each person or company may believe that they could make more money developing their own plot of land to a higher density.

I am an American and not a Costa Rican, so I would not be presumptuous to try to speak for the Costa Ricans on political issues. My perception is that there is a broad consensus that growth and development need to be moderated to allow the local infrastructure to catch up with roads, sewer systems to replace septic systems, and other improvements.

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