Engineers Assn. calls for release of permits in Rincón beach dispute

By John McPhaul

Puerto Rico Engineers and Land Surveyors Association (CIAPR by its Spanish initials) President Juan Alicea Flores said Monday that after days of evaluation of the tense situation in Rincón involving the construction of the swimming pool at the Sol y Playa Condominium, the community should have immediate and free access to all permits and reports related to the case that have not been made public.

Specifically, CIAPR requests that the government provide all permitting documentation, including the Certification of Categorical Exclusion and data on the demarcation of the maritime-terrestrial zone and the area of public domain, the association said in a press release.

“The details of the basis for environmental compliance with this [project] have not been made public,” Alicea said. “Access to the file was not obtained, mainly the Explanatory Memorandum used for categorical exclusion that we understand to apply. Therefore, the CIAPR requests that the OGPE [Permits Office], as this is a matter of the highest public interest, make available the file of the permits pertinent to this controversy.”

The CIAPR is also requesting from the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources a copy of the demarcation file of the maritime-terrestrial zone relevant to the dispute.

“At CIAPR we have been repeating the urgent message about the dangers of continuing to build without a vision of sustainability,” Alicea said. “We know the consequences of climate change and that the beaches in Rincón and others have lost ground and their slope, which exacerbates erosion. The Sol y Playa Condominium was affected by Hurricane Maria, so it is logical to think that it will be affected in the future with other phenomena. The force of the hurricanes has intensified, so the impact to the coasts will be more significant and recurring. If we don’t make decisions based on that unavoidable reality, we will pay the consequences as a people.”

Alicea noted that the force of a storm surge, such as occurred off the coast of Humacao in October 2017, can knock down structures.

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