Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

Zoning, Drones and Tire Shops

While in the process of moving my law office to be closer to Roatan’s new Municipality where files go to die waiting for a cadastral certificate, I have come across a few unique island issues.
Firstly, there’s the lack of zoning in the islands and there is little to no oversight by the authorities who are outnumbered and outgunned in more than one way.

Water isn’t readily available in all areas and it’s a nightmare to keep enough in a cistern. The definition of a plumber is anyone who has seen water run through a pipe.

Trash collection doesn’t happen in all communities, but you pay for it with your operating permit. There isn’t enough garbage trucks for the fast-growing island population and those that we have are in bad shape or not running.

Driving the additional eight minutes I have added to my commute daily, I have passed no less than five tire shops and two new car washes. Seems we have only one idea for businesses at a time.

Back in early 2000s it was dive shops that were the business everyone wanted to open. Now you can’t walk more than 30 steps in West End before you see another one.

There was a stop to licenses for liquor sales in the last Municipal administration. Maybe we should consider this for other fields and enterprises. For instance there seems to be enough real estate offices and agents on the island to service half of Honduras.

As an attorney, every week I meet a new real estate “agent” with some obscure new company. If they aren’t a part of the local Realtors Association there doesn’t seem to be any formal rules to practicing this profession. Same issues apply with home builders. The “builders” just apply and pay for a license and we don’t care if the only thing you have successfully built is a birdhouse.

Also land invasions are at an all-time high on the island.

Every week land developers are breaking ground on a new development. I ask myself how many have their environmental permits. And how many have oversight after the approval of the building permits? I have seen surveys change after approval and no one is the wiser.

I was once invested in a townhouse project in a small residential neighborhood and after completing the building the neighbor decided to put in a slaughterhouse behind it. He even decided to keep some grazing cows there. It was not fun having an open house in that residential community for sure.

Also land invasions are at an all-time high on the island. The encroachments on other people’s property by people moving fence lines or downright building on other people’s property are just some relevant issues for property owners today.

I’ve been told not to write about this and scare away potential investors and buyers, well I feel like these are matters that should be known.

I would like to make suggestions for improvements. I have made them to several of the people in the construction industry and to pertinent authorities.

Amazing flying drone technology is available now and we are not taking advantage of it in mapping and land management. A drone can map an area 100 times faster than a three man crew on the ground with a tape and handheld GPS.

We keep throwing manpower at a problem that needs a tech solution. Drones can also monitor for squatters, show illegal constructions, and improve safety… The uses are multiple and worth looking into in my humble opinion.