On June 28, 2019, the Puerto Rico Planning Board (PRPB) published a Notice of Public Hearings to present the Puerto Rico Zoning District Map and its equivalent Geodatabase. The map submitted by the PRPB modifies the zoning of 1.38 million Spanish acres, or 61% of Puerto Rico’s territory, and yet this number that does not include the changes caused by the new Joint Regulations.
The Planning Board gave access to the proposed Zoning District Map but has failed to divulge other essential information. In order to evaluate these changes and foster informed citizen involvement, it is paramount to learn the current zoning as is established in the Puerto Rico Land Use Map of 2015. For this reason, Para la Naturaleza developed a digital tool that is an online map to helps citizens get involved by analyzing the proposed changes.
By visiting www.pln.org/guiacalificacion users may find descriptions and demonstrative videos that will teach them how to use the map to analyze areas or plots of interest and visualize the PRPB’s current and proposed zonings. Users may search by municipality, neighborhood and street addresses in Puerto Rico.
This tool also includes Puerto Rico’s natural protected areas, flood hazard areas, designated maritime land boundaries and wetlands. It also features options to measure distance and area and a tool to search by geographical coordinates.
“The process established by the PRPB has created distrust among the public. The extent of the proposed changes raises several questions regarding the legality of the process and calls for creating effective participatory processes that are of a greater transparency with regards to criteria and methodology,” commented Soledad Gaztambide Arandes, Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator of Para la Naturaleza.
Para la Naturaleza is making an urgent call to the general public to submit their comments on the Puerto Rico Zoning District Map before the last day available for submittals, September 24, 2019. After this period concludes, we recommend requesting the Governor not to approve the map.
About Para la Naturaleza:
Para la Naturaleza is a non-profit organization that integrates society in the conservation of its natural ecosystems. Its goal is to ensure that the percentage of protected natural areas in Puerto Rico is 33% by the year 2033. Para la Naturaleza provides transformative experiences in nature that inspire and motivate concrete actions in favor of nature, such as voluntary work, the donation of funds and land. Apart from organizing volunteer, educational and fundraising events, Para la Naturaleza protects more than 60 natural areas and welcomes the public in visitors’ centers throughout Puerto Rico.