3 questions on OCRET in Lake Atitlan

Follow up on OCRET on Lake Atitlan


In Cynthia recent Santa Cruz blog   issue she mentioned that my article on OCRET answers a lot of questions but might raise new ones. She passed me these ones that I will answer to the best of my knowledge.


1.  If OCRET consider 200 meters back from the water’s edge, then would that include properties that are technically NOT adjacent to the Lake, but are within the 200 meters?  A neighbour measured up from the Lake and found that it comes to just before his lower house. Only the property owners fronting the lake received the OCRET notice, but am wondering if they will then notify the rest of us at some future date?  Should property owners who are NOT on the lakeshore, but are within the 200 meters be.

OCRET work according the Government Decree 126-97. and this one refers to the Article 122 of the Guatemalan Constitution where it is defined what it is called the "Reservas Territoriales del Estado"
or the State Territory Reserves.  The State of Guatemala reserve for itself the domain on the following areas:

- a stripe of land of 3 kilometers along the oceans from the higher level of the tide.
- a stripe of land of 200 mts around the shores of the lakes
- a stripe of land of 100 mts along the banks of navegable rivers
- a circle of 50 mts of radius along the springs that provide water to the villages and cities.


Exceptions to the reservations expressed:

a. The properties located in the urban areas, and
b. The properties on which existe rights registered in the National Registry of Property before
the 1st of March of 1956.


So yes OCRET when will map properly the shores line it will asked the owners of rights on the land into the 200 mts to get their contracts as well... At the moment they are at a early stage of the process and contact first of all only the waterfront owners.

2. If it bisects a property, i.e. the 200 meters stops mid property (mid house?) then do they just calculate that portion?  

Correct technically you will have to get a contract for the portion into the 200 mts. The rest of your property will be owned under a different form of ownership. Most probably rights of possession.

3. As we know the Lake rises and goes down not only within a season but over a period of years it can vary greatly. At what point in the year this “fee” is calculated could make a big difference to some property owners, particularly those who are not adjacent to the lake but are within the 200 meters range.  A March measurement will be much different from an October measurement.  Could/Should it be recalculated? Thoughts on this?

 My experience is the following.. When you do the process to get a contract with OCRET you have to provide a plan of the property at the moment of the request. It has happen to me that let say we make the plan at the end of a rainy season and by the time OCRET came to check the measurement of the land the lake went down (in an area where the water is not to deep) like 50 mts.. they ask to make new plans to reflect the reality of the land.
Now during the contract you have you won't change the rent you pay if you loose land as the water is rising.. At the moment it is not in your interest and it is not a requirement from the Decree 126-97 to actualise your measurements. Now if the lake would go down substantially and you have a big stretch of land appearing in front of your property then I would recommend to actualise your measurement and you will pay a little bit more but you will rent more of the land and it will protect your place.

One of the big issue around the lake is the lake level changes.. For most of my time around it.. (25 years) the lake was going down slowly and the Government office OCRET in charge of administrating the land was almost absent of the area. When we have the big blooming of the algea only around 150 contracts were issued around the lake. Now that the government as an office in Solola, and due of the recent major changes on the lake level, this is will become a big issue to deal with...

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