Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Chacala Development, sort of

On this lovely Chacala morning I had breakfast at the little rooftop restaurant at Casa Pacifica. I guess it’s a sign of the times that it’s still open in May. Usually it’s closed before Semana Santa, late March or early April. But this year there are still visitors coming down to Chacala to visit, and often nowadays, to look for property in the area. Today at breakfast there were a couple who are purchasing a home in Chacalilla, a woman looking to see what was available, a younger retired man looking at Chacala for a longish stay, and a young family who are building a little place near the Chacalilla gate.

It’s actually kind of scary to me, but bound to happen, I guess. Chacala doesn’t have a lot of land that is available for purchase. And there are limitations on the land that is available. For example, most non-Mexicans can’t purchase land within 30 miles of the ocean or, I think, 100 miles of either border. Land can be purchased thru a bank trust or by establishing a Mexican corporation. There are lots of message boards and websites on the issues about buying land in Mexico. www.rollybrook.com is very good, and he has suggestions about other places to look for information.

Most the land immediately surrounding Chacala is either Federal or eijido land, which is generally not available for purchase by individuals. The center of Chacala has been regularized (changed from a squatter town to having regular lots with titles, etc). Those lots can be bought by foreigners, but only thru bank trusts. Or some illegal machincations like having your Mexican friend hold the title for you. There are also lots and houses in the gated community, Marina Chacala (which has a website). Very expensive and lovely. Susana Escobido, owner of Casa Pacifica, has been helping people find and purchase lots and houses in the Marina. And in Chacala too. Also, Rod, of Ayalos Realty (Sayulita), who lives in the Marina helps people with purchases there. They both have websites, etc.

I don’t why I am even writing about this, since it’s not to my advantage to have more people coming here and prices going up. Places that could be rented for $150/200USD last summer around now $250/300, because of demand, mainly. And landladies are reluctant to take monthly renters anyway, because they can make more in fewer nights with day-to-day renters.

Another worry is that Chacala will outgrow it’s very basic infrastructure quickly. Sewage and water delivery mainly. The electric and phone systems seem to be able to meet Chacala’s needs so far. But many people are afraid Chacala will have problems like Sayulita, where there are serious pollution problems caused by overdevelopment. These problems, that is, the level of pollution, is rarely discussed with tourists coming to Sayulita. Of course, one difference between Chacala and Sayulita is that Sayulita has a real river (sewage filled) running through it into the ocean, while Chacala has only an old (usually dried up lagoon) and a (normally) dried up creek bed running thru Mar de Jade. Into the ocean. Much less chance of surface pollution, although the problem of underground sewage pits under the restaurants and motels remains, and may or may not be addressed in the near future.

Depressing. On a more cheerful note, some very nice people are choosing Chacala as a second home, or to live here. If they have to come to Chacala, I am glad it’s nice and interesting people who are coming. This has been a nice week for me. The end of the Semana Santa and May Day crowds (and trash), nice weather, as usual, and nice visitors.

I am expecting to move into my summer home (third year there) in the next few days, but don’t know for sure exactly which day. I have some people lined up to help me move my stuff. And some of it is staying here, at Esparanza’s. Like my wooden bed and maybe my fridge, which I won’t need this summer. I offered E my tent for a little private place for her this summer, but she said she would be afraid to sleep in a tent away from the house. But then she said she would think about it. I expect to come back to the beach in late October, but, of course, you never know. The beach is empty today, and there was not one camping, motor, car or truck anywhere along the beach. I think there are about 10 Habitant volunteers still in town, working in El Capomo, plus six or seven long-term visitors or residents from the US/Canadian and two yachts, and about eight visitors. A lot for May, considering the previous years, with almost no one visiting in May.

I am going swimming in a second, as soon as I close the computer down. The water is green and looks very tempting. And empty.

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