Permaculture Due Diligence Workshop

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DECEMBER 14 – 15, 2018

at Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center

Scott Gallant

A few months back a series of clients began asking me questions that I didn’t have the answers to. I knew just enough about the topics to know what I didn’t know. One client wanted to know about building restrictions around a small body of water, another needed information about opening up land for a road through an existing forest, and a third was seeking support to enroll in the FONAFIFO Environmental Service Payment program.

I was frustrated that I couldn’t help answer their initial questions, questions that were imperative to the development of a site and in the end to the client’s decision to purchase the property. These legal hurdles around permitting and environmental restrictions fall under the broad category of invisible structures. These are all aspects of design that aren’t physically tangible; such as finances, governance, internal agreements, goal setting, and such. As I’ve written about in the past, they are the most important parts of our design strategies and planning; although they are often what we save to last. Usually because we are more interested in getting the garden started!

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Getting started with a piece of land in Costa Rica can be an intimidating process. The above questions are common and it isn’t clear who to ask; the surveyor? your lawyer who has never set foot on the site? the architect? The government bodies you have to work with such as ICE, MINEA, and SETENA feel like intimidating bureaucracies. It is difficult to know what your rights and responsibilities are as you consider building a road, hiring a contractor, cutting down a tree, reforesting a slope, excavating a pond, etc. But there is a vast array of Due Diligence that all potential landowners and project developers need to consider.

With this in mind we’ve created a short two day class designed to help give you confidence as you embark on building your homestead, permaculture farm, eco-hotel, or community development.

The Permaculture Due Diligence class will take place on December 14-15th 2018, at Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center. This two day class is taught by Marisol Hidalgo an environmental engineer with CDG Environmental Advisers and Marcelo Valansi a community developer and legal advisor for communities such as EcoVilla. It is a partnership between Porvenir DesignSphera Sostentible, and Huertas Donde Sea.

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The full course description can be found here.

Specific topics will include:

Purchasing land

  • Surveying
  • Real estate and commissions

Legal structures for projects

  • Shareholder agreements and bylaws
  • Subdivision options
  • Condominium options

Physical development

  • Environmental issue permitting and SETENA
  • Electric installation options and working with ICE
  • Water concession and  well digging
  • Building permits
  • Road restrictions

Environmental programs and restrictions

  • Working with MINAE
  • Land clearing and tree felling restrictions
  • PSA (Environmental Service Payment) options
  • Wildlife corridors and conservation areas

Legality Issues

  • Residency options
  • Taxes-property, business, personal
  • Bank accounts
  • Employees


  • Planning  and mapping programs and software
  • Property purchase checklists

We hope to see you there!

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