Beach Concessions

Beach Concessions

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1. According to Article 255 of the Constitution, ”The beaches and shores belong to the State and are of public use and, therefore, cannot be object of private appropriation. All these properties are of free and common use, subject to the regulation that the Law establishes.”

2. The topic of coast rights is a requirement of the Housing Ministry, for which the same has dictated a regulation, having the cited article 255 of the Constitution as a basis.

3. MIVI (Housing Ministry) dictated Resolution No. 86-90 of December 28, 1990, of which it took literal “’q’ of article 2 of law 9 of January 25, 1973, as a basis (Law that the Housing Ministry creates), according to which it is a function of said Ministry to “raise, regulate and direct the regulating plans, division of land into lots, division into zones, urbanizations, official maps, construction lines and all the other matters that the planning of the cities require with the cooperation of the Municipalities and other public entities.”

4. The cited Resolution No. 56-90 foresees, among its legal reasons, with regard to the beaches, the following:

a) The beaches are of public use, being allocated to the tourist attraction and enjoyment of the community.
b) There are no norms that regulate the development of urbanizations or parceling in lands adjacent to the beaches.
c) That the community is accustomed to make progress on the properties with walls and fillers.

By virtue of the foregoing, Resolution No. 86-90 resolves:

a) Any urbanization or division into lots project adjacent to a beach area will have to establish a servitude all along said beach and a street will be built parallel to the coastline.
b) Said street will have a minimum width of 7 meters, after which there will be a servitude no less than 12 meters wide. The street will be built at the exterior border of the servitude of 12 meters.

5. That taking as basis the existence of tourist investment projects in areas adjacent to the littoral of Panama coasts, such as Hotels, Seaside Resorts, Sports Areas, Entertainment and Aquatic Sports Piers and Moorings; and by virtue of which Resolution No. 86-90, upon establishing the obligation of the construction of the street of 7 meters as a width minimum and the establishment of a minimum coastal servitude of 12 meters limits the development and private investment in projects in which the State has interest, especially those of tourist interest, MIVI dictated Resolution No. 131-99 of August 9, 1999, whereby it was resolved:

To authorize MIVI’s General Directorate of Urban Development to grant exceptions to what is provided in Resolution No. 86-90 in those projects of tourist interest that are established in beaches and adjacent areas.

6. Within the procedures of Administrative Concession of The Nation’s lands, for which the Ministry of Economics and Finances and the Maritime Authority of Panama have competence, according to the nature of the activity that they are trying to carry out, it is foreseen to consult the Ministries and Institutions having inherence in the topic.

7. In the cases of Administrative Concession of lands in beach areas, MIVI is one of the Ministries that will have to comment on the viability of what is requested, being it of the criteria that in these cases a minimum servitude of 10 meters has to be respected from the line of high tide toward firm ground, which is known as sea shore. In addition to this, and based on Resolution No. 86-90, any lot adjacent to the beach should maintain another servitude of not less than 12 meters wide. Consequently, if what is requested affects the 22 meters to which MIVI makes reference, said institution considers the request for Concession as not viable, and, therefore, should not proceed.

8. The cited area of 22 meters starting from the line of high tide toward firm ground (starting from of the line of high tide, the first 10 meters toward firm ground constitute the sea shore; the 12 meters following the 10 meters of sea shore come to constitute the coast servitude) can and is object of the Administrative Concession on the part of the State; nevertheless, according to the normative of the Housing Ministry, the only way that they accept as viable a request that will affect the sea shore area and the coastal servitude, in the sense of interrupting the servitude, is that we are dealing with the suppositions provided by Resolution No. 131-99 previously cited.

9. The servitude will not be considered affected (Requirement from MIVI) when the area of 22 meters starting from the line of high tide is requested on concession and the requester does not interrupt the existing servitude. In these cases the supposition of exception foreseen in Resolution No. 131-99 is not applicable, inasmuch as the requester of the concession complies with what is regulated in Resolution No. 86-90 and leaves ready the servitudes to which the same refers.

10. In the case of Administrative Concessions of lands granted by the Ministry of Economics and Finances, it is established in the contract that the concessionaire can only make use of the area given in concession insofar as he complies with the limitations, technical, environmental and safety requirements established for each one of the Ministries and institutions having inherence over the area and /or activity to be developed. From there the fact that the Administrative Concession Contract does not indicate expressly that the concessionaire cannot affect the servitude by constructing a wall. So that the wall construction is legal it will be necessary that the taxpayer, prior to the construction of the same, submit himself to the regulations
11. that on that matter MIVI has dictated, among others. If the wall is constructed, and consequently, affects the servitude, the Resolutions No. 86-90 and No. 131-99 of MIVI are being violated, which evidences the non-compliance with the limitations, technical, environmental and safety requirements to which we refer in previous lines.

12. If the case is that the requester already constructed a wall within the area of the 22 meters (10 meters of sea shore and 12 meters of coastal servitude) and, subsequently, requests the concession of the area to the Ministry of Economics and Finances, the latter, within the concessions normal procedure will consult MIVI, which will have to make a statement in the sense of considering as not viable what is requested since the servitude is being affected and, therefore, what is provided in Resolutions No. 86-90 and No. 131-99 is being violated.

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