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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Mayor calls for title deeds for Adjuntas whose residences predate reserve

Adjuntas mayor calls for title deeds for properties that predate reserve

By The Star Staff

Adjuntas Mayor José Hiram Soto demanded on Wednesday that Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia sign into law legislation authored by Ponce District Sen. Ramón Ruiz Nieves that would grant property titles to 19 families that for more than 50 years have lived on land located in the Guilarte Forest Reserve in the municipality of Adjuntas.

The mayor was referring to Senate Joint Resolution 479, which amends legislation from 2019 to add the name of each family that would be granted a piece of land in the Garzas neighborhood.

“This measure does justice to these families, who occupied those lands before the declaration of the Guilarte Forest Forest Reserve that was made on March 2, 1973, when the Forest Master Plan for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was approved, designating as natural and unique areas the lands surrounding the Pico del Monte Guilarte, Silla de Calderón and Mata de Plátano, which recommended the preservation of the natural characteristics and habitat of the area,” the mayor said.

On Aug. 1, 2019, Joint Resolution 63-2019 was signed into law, ordering the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the Puerto Rico Planning Board, in coordination with the Department of Housing, to segregate and grant property titles of up to one tract of land per family to the citizens who currently reside on land situated in the Guilarte Forest Reserve in the Garzas neighborhood of Adjuntas, and allow the practice of agricultural activities in line with the plan for the use and management of those lands.

“I trust that the governor will allow these families to have the peace of mind of being owners of the lands for which they have fought,” Soto said. “For more than 40 years, these residents have tried to obtain property titles for their land without any success, mainly due to the government’s imposed obstacles.”

“We join the claim of the mayor and the community who have been waiting for these titles for years,” Ruiz Nieves added.

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