‘Waterfront’ tax expands inland; skips pools
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Pelican Free Press and the Colonos web site are endeavoring to work closer together to assure the most information reaches the most people. We begin by alerting residents that the form to renew gate passes is now available on the Colonos web site. Click on the Colonos icon at right to find the form. Print it, fill it out and bring it and a photo I.D. (passport or driver license), to the Colonos office when you can after May 1 to recertify your gate and resident card. Thank you for your cooperation. For more details, read our previous issue or find details on the Colonos site.
Usual transition to monthly issues begins
As usual, the Pelican Free Press transitions this week from a weekly to monthly publication schedule for the summer season. Our next issue will be June 1 and monthly thereafter.
Weekly publication will resume in November. Special summer publications will be issued when dictated by news events deemed important to our readers. We thank you for your interest and are particularly grateful to our sponsors for their continued support.
If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so now, enabling us to e-mail you when we publish. It’s free. We trust you will stay tuned during the summer as we monitor developments in Phase 4, replenishment of Fatima Bay beachfront, the ongoing efforts to create a Dragon Mart and ferry routes from Tampa to Calica and Progreso; Colonos and Fideicomiso projects such as beach-pass progress, roadwork and lighting, the booming development of Puerto Maya and the Red Cross clinic in the Poblado, hurricane watch, business news and more affecting Greater Puerto Aventuras.
Meanwhile, enjoy the northern climate and rest your wings for a well-informed return flight.
Tax letter vexes canal-front homeowners
It is no secret that the federal government of President Enrique Pena Nieto has an appetite for new taxes to underwrite his aggressive social and infrastructure agenda. Mr. Pena Nieto’s administration is even looking at taxing food and medicine, something his PRI party has never supported.
There should be little surprise, then, that owners of homes, businesses and condos fronting the canals and other inland water bodies in Puerto Aventuras have been receiving letters from the government concerning the payment of taxes for fronting on a federal water zone.
Common knowledge has been that the federal zone along a beach extends 20 meters – or 65.7 feet – from the water line. Last high season, beachfront HOAs on Fatima Bay complained of receiving tax bills in the thousands of dollars because beach erosion had brought the water line much closer to the private properties. This meant private properties were then within the 65 feet, that is, partly in the federal zone and therefore subject to added taxation.
But the latest twist is apparently more befuddling and complex.
A letter sent to Puerto Aventuras owners of private homes, condominiums and commercial properties bordering the man-made canals and other inland waterways of Puerto Aventuras (and elsewhere we presume) lays claim to a 3-meter – or 9.10 feet – federal zone on what commonly has been considered private land or docks.
One such owner, who is well-versed in the ways of the Mexican government, said he has been told by a privately-hired biologist that the government assertion is bogus. Paying taxes on what is suddenly claimed as federal land is nothing short of what is arguably the expropriation of private property, he said.
He wants chapter and verse of the law spelled out for him before he surrenders to the request for payment, which generally is calculated by multiplying a property’s width by three (meters), according to some sources. “It’s not big money,” said the source, but noted it could increase yearly thereafter once landowners are listed in the system.
But another view from an official of the Colonos notes the law creating a federal zone along canals – particularly those drawing water from, and open to, the sea – was passed more than a decade ago and evidently just now beginning to be enforced.
The Colonos itself, inside the Centro Comercial, reportedly received a letter because it evidently is part of the complex that borders the dolphin pools and marina.
As in so many cases of Mexican legislation, the law is couched in sufficient confusing nuance and complexity as to make deciphering it an intellectual sport with the twists and turns of a good mystery novel.
For the moment, it is each landowner vs. the government.
Bill abolishing residential bank trust requirement
passes lower chamber as Senate awaits its turn
The Mexican press predicted it last week and on Tuesday it came true: Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies, akin to the U.S. House of Representatives, decisively passed 356-119 a measure abolishing the “bank trust”requirement for foreigners in what was formerly the “restricted” zones such as Puerto Aventuras and the entire coastal Maya Riviera. Trusts will still be available for those who might want them.
The measure would allow foreigners to own land for residential purposes only without having to go through the expensive “bank trust” (fideicomiso) arrangement that many buyers viewed as an unfair requirement and burden on foreign investors – a “rip-off” fattening the banks, to put it in the vernacular.
Representative Hectar Gutierrez de la Garza noted there were 60,000 bank trusts issued in the past 12 years that in his opinion represented 60,000 situations “that we are trying to avoid.”
Now the bill goes to the upper chamber, the Senate, where anything could happen, as is usually the case when the two chambers try to effect compromises to please a variety of constituencies. But if Tuesday’s voting numbers are any indication, it is quite possible the end of the fideicomiso era could be in sight.
It is probably too soon to tell what all this means to current owners who bought under the trust rules, since debate on the measure isn’t over until the Senate votes. Will all the existing trusts be voided as well?
Ending the trust requirement is a boon to Puerto Aventuras and all other developing areas within the 30-mile coastal and 60-mile border zones where the bank trust is required. Foreign buyers will be able to accomplish their deals faster, Mexican property owners will be able to sell faster. Buyers will save dollars on the trust creation and be free of yearly trust costs, thus eliminating bank charges for doing what amounts to nothing.
Less expense and less hassle should be another enticement to buy and retire in what most snowbirds, x-pats and Canadians from the frigid north see as “Paradise.”
This puts Puerto Aventuras, where another phase is being developed in a prime position to hustle sales, provided land speculators do not glue themselves to the altar of greed. To repeat: As passed by the Deputies, elimination of the trust is for residential property only, not business. Abolishing the trust process makes buying a house look less daunting and will better accommodate current owners with property for sale.
Tie this in with recently announced movement in Riviera Maya toward medical tourism
(see story below) and the future for x-pat population and job creation looks brighter.
The bank trust idea was a legislative artifice to change the 1917 Constitution’s ban on foreign ownership without having to jump through the many hoops of actually changing the Constitution. But 50 years ago the residential trust idea was no longer politically necessary and it has taken this long to attempt to eliminate it.
Representative Raul Paz Alonzo Yucatan of the PAN party said it best in backing the bill: The intent, he said, “is to end the pretense that exists today that allow foreigners to acquire property in the restricted zone by holding trusts, corporations or other legal tricks.”
Now to wait for Senate ratification.
FISHING’S GREAT with Capt. Rick as photo below attests. This beauty was caught by Sabrina Moak on the Reel Stripper. Now is the season for sailfish, blue and white marlin, and Mahi-mahi… SEAL REMOVAL from water bottles being delivered by E-Pura here is questioned by
some health activists who say a move like that would never be sanctioned where there is government health oversight. More later…WRIST RESTED – Gaylita, owner of Cafe Ole, has recovered well from a broken wrist and is back helping out needy children with horse therapy, which is how she broke her wrist…DRAGON MART Cancun is going to court in Chetumal to force a decision by Cancun officials that have not yet approved the mart’s bid for a building permit…EMERGENCY CALLS in Riviera Maya grow with the population. Figures released last week show emergency numbers in the area receive from 600 to 2,000 calls daily depending on the season. Most are for domestic problems…FLY EASY – The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has postponed its earlier plan to allow certain small knives aboard flights. The flying public rejected the idea by 54 percent in a recent poll…
In case you want to know…
‘Medical City’ said coming to Playa, Cancun
New facilities would service ‘medical tourism’
The Pelican Free Press has advocated in previous editions that this area consider investing in the blossoming “medical tourism” industry to attract additional visitors from the U.S., Canada and ultimately other countries.
We reported on the story that President Obama’s administration and that of the previous Mexican president, Oscar Calderon, had quietly agreed to cooperate in an endeavor to extend U.S. accreditation to medically qualified Mexican hospitals. This would qualify the hospitals to receive payment from U.S. insurers.
The Pelican also suggested this area could be ripe for long-term care facilities to service foreign elderly with insurance coverage and individual ability to pay for care over the long haul at less expense than in the more advanced countries.
The thinking is that the northern countries need relief from high-cost medical care and Mexico needs businesses to employ its increasing middle-class population, creating what appears to be, on paper at least, a win-win situation.
There now appears to be an awakening to these possibilities in the Riviera Maya where a population of 1 million is expected to be reached before the decade is out. There are reports saying construction of two such facilities, one in Cancun to cover from Cancun to Puerto Morelos and another between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, are now in the planning pipeline.
Word of these possibilities comes as Serevanda Acuna, president of the medical tourism association, prepares to construct the first tertiary and internationally certified hospital in Playa del Carmen.
A requirement of U.S. citizens to have a hospital within 10 minutes of their home is what has propelled the notion of two rather than one medical city.
The history of Rome applies here: Rome was not built in a day and medical tourism won’t develop overnight, but the more agitation for it, the faster it may happen.
The Pelican Pulpit…
Score one for inconsiderate noisemakers
The neighbor said he actually got out of bed one night last weekend , dressed and went outside to find out where the heck the loud music (noise) was coming from. It could have been from one of the hotels, but, he decided, hotels in P.A. are generally considerate enough to shut down the noise by 11 p.m. This crass cacophony was still raging at 2: 30 a.m. thundering in the wind over the golf course like a monster nightmare.
This neighbor, by the way, shuts all windows and doors before retiring and still, the music was so loud it seemed it was being fired out of a battleship’s big guns. It awakened him.
Unlike some families, this writer generally refuses to turn his hard-earned condo unit into a bunker and deny himself and his family the fresh and quiet evening breeze that is the Caribbean’s caressing gift to mankind. It is why we purchased here, for nights of peace after a lifetime of work, war, raising a family and overcoming the myriad problems of existence that tests us all. It is precisely a good night’s sleep that helps sustain us through all of that and older age.
Curiosity being what it is, a call was placed to Security. Granted, gringos are guests in Mexico and while some of us strive to learn Spanish, it doesn’t happen overnight. With an apology for our language deficiency, and in deference to the reality of PA’s large English-speaking community, it was disheartening that Security, usually reliable on such occasions, had no one available who spoke English. This has already prompted a suggestion to Colonos that it hire a bi-lingual night-staffer to handle complaints and emergencies for all fee-paying residents.
Had we wanted to punish our sensibilities with booze, noise and incomprehensible drunkards, we would have chosen Playa del Carmen, where we first shopped for a retirement shanty and where, we learned, the nightlife is expected and embraced by transient tourists and local night-lifers. We were told we could expect a night’s sleep in family-friendly Puerto Aventuras. Unfortunately, as is always the case with man, we have to keeping fighting for it.
There is no reason for resident owners to deny themselves the peace they seek after 11 p.m., no reason to imprison themselves in a dark and stuffy cement cocoon or stick their heads in the sand to find solace. Noisemakers just need to be considerate of the 11 p.m. compromise rule.
A good example to follow is Centro Comercial where 98 percent of the businesses and the upstairs condo owners strain and usually succeed in noise abatement as the result of a compromise that both sides generally adhere to. Really, that’s all it takes. Compromise. Sleepers suffer the noise until an agreed-upon hour, businesses endure the silence afterwards.
It is incumbent upon the late-night noisemakers, particularly those who profit by doing so, to assure some of their income is reinvested in noise abatement, assuring their noise does not escape their walls or territory. It’s the considerate thing to do in the interest of peaceful co-existence.
Pay some attention to Canadians, A?
I would like to commend you on the wonderful job that you are doing by covering very relevant and topical issues pertaining not only to Puerto Aventuras but also the entire Mayan Riviera and Cancun.
However, as a Canadian I have noticed that many articles refer only to American residents. If and where possible could you kindly include Canadian references also?
(Ed. Note: Sure. Let this be the first. Maybe Canadians in Puerto Aventuras and their c0nsul will help you by letting The Pelican know what’s up with them like you just did?)
Check our new link with the Colonos web site
Many of us come back to our PA home and many may not have all the required identification the Colonos office may need to issue passes. Would you please be so kind as to do a little background work for us all so we will have what we need when we go to apply for those passes (car passes and passes to allow foot traffic though approved points in the future to the sea).
Many of our accounts are set to pay automatically so we don’t always have copies of electric bills, telephone bills, etc. that may (or may not) be needed to apply for these Colonos entry passes.
Thank you for the excellent source of ongoing information. We ALWAYS tell every new person we meet to check out your fine piece of press if they really want to know what is going on in PA.
Signed/Mary and Bernie Strojny
(Ed. Note: See “Important Notice” above and check out the Colonos web site. Thanks for the kind words too.)
STA. TERESITA del NINO Jesus Y la Santa Paz (Roman Catholic)
Puerto Aventuras Poblado Masses: daily/Mondays through Sundays, 7 p.m. (Spanish) and Sundays, 9 a.m. (Spanish) . Church office Tel. 984-206-6245 (daily, 9 a.m .- 1 p.m. and 4 – 8 p.m.) Contact: The Rev. James Hogan
CORPUS CHRISTI (Roman Catholic)
Calle 110A entre 25, Playa del Carmen (near Soriana);Mass: Saturdays, 11 a.m. (Spanish)
Church offfice: 803-0600; Contact: The Rev. James Hogan
FELLOWSHIP CHURCH PAAMUL– Non-denominational English worship Service is at 9:00 a.m Sundays in Paamul at the Palapa Church and at10:45 a.m. at the Hacienda Real Hotel, Avenida 10 and Calle10 in Playa del Carmen.
LIGHTHOUSE CHURCH IN TULUM – “Lighting the way to Life” English worship Service is non-denominational, 10:00 a.m. Sundayswith continental breakfast at 9:30; located on Highway 307, 1.2 miles past San Francisco grocery, hospital and Subway, next door to fruit stand. IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN:English speaking, non-denominational Christian Worship Service begins April 21 and meets every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. For more information and directions: www.lighthousechurch.mx
Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
My order is a take out “Mi orden es para llevar”
Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email firstname.lastname@example.org or Cel: 984-108-3517 so she can prepare materials in advance.
(Classes are from 8:30 to 9:30 a..m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is 150 pesos per session.
AA and Alanon meetings…
AA and ALANON meetings are held at the public library at the Colegio as follows:
AA Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m; Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. ALANON meeting is held Mondays at 6 p.m., also at the library. Meetings are “open” and non-members are welcomed to attend.
See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.
Centro Maya: http://cinemex.com/
Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
IMPROVED POWER was instituted in the Centro Playa del Carmen area Saturday when service was closed down to complete the work by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE.) Now, what about those lights along the highway from Playa to Puerto Aventuras? Why are they no longer on to improve safe passage?…LOT OF CHATTER going on about the influx or “guards” sitting in homemade guard towers along the highway protecting – what? Anybody have an answer? – or do we just have fun with rumor mongering?… MORE SEATS and benches are being sought for placement around Playa’s 5th Avenue for tired tourists. Is there enough seating in PA’s Centro Comercial? …A MOTORCYCLIST was killed when the bike collided with a bull running out from some bushes along a highway in Jose Maria Morelos. The passenger was injured…WILDFIRES caused partly by the current drought floated smoke to some parts of Playa del Carmen this week while some residents of Puerto Aventuras got a slight whiff of it too. The largest fire was reported northwest of Xpu-Ha, engulfing some 980 acres…