In the past, new construction in Amapas had a sort of ‘anything goes’ quality, and savvy or well-connected Developers were adept at bending already loose Planning regulations, creating a crazy-quilt of view-blocking towers with no respect for their surroundings. Things began to change in September, 2012, when the City Council passed the Amapas Plan Parcial (Polígono de Desarrollo Controlado del sub-distrito 9-A) into law. The Plan Parcial provides special zoning rules for both Amapas and Conchas Chinas, and divides Amapas into 12 smaller sub-zones, each with its own different requirements and restrictions (density, height, off-street parking, setbacks from the street and from neighbors, etc.).
The two major areas are 1) the Residential Zone, to the east and uphill from the Carretera, allowing single-family homes, and both vertical and horizontal multi-family buildings; and 2) the Mixed Use Zone, west from the Carretera and downhill, all the way to the beach – containing private homes, condos, hotels and businesses. In the Residential Zone, new buildings can’t extend more than 9 meters above the highest point of raw land, must have a footprint covering no more than 0.4 to 0.8 of the property (depending on the sub-zone, and hopefully providing more green space), and must provide a minimum of 2 off-street parking places per housing unit. Because the Mixed Use area is more densely developed, height restrictions, setbacks and off-street parking requirements are more flexible and varied. But the residential area south of Los Muertos Beach has a 9 meter height limit.
(See the accompanying map and chart for more details.)
The new City Administration has been supportive of these new regulations, but many projects received permits under previous Administrations and old rules (a few on the eve of Plan Parcial passage). Additionally, aggressive Developers are always looking for loopholes, shortcuts, and ways to game the system. The Plan Parcial must be defended and enforced – not only by City Planning, but also by concerned and watchful neighbors.
AMAPAS JUNTA VECINAL
In May, 2013, the City approved the Amapas Junta Vecinal. With the same geographic boundaries and goals of neighborhood improvement as the ANA (and sharing many of the same officers), but representing all colonia residents, the Junta Vecinal is entitled to special recognition and cooperation with the City and its departments, which should help Amapas get official City attention and enter into public-private partnerships on things like landslide cleanup and street improvements.
Among other things, the Amapas Junta Vecinal has the right and obligation to approve or disapprove anything new or unusual in our colonia, like business licenses, special events, the display of advertising banners, etc. It’s a way to help ensure local control over local happenings.
Why two separate neighborhood organizations? The Junta has the official ‘juice’ to arrange City meetings and get things done, but no money; the ANA has the organization, communications, dedicated members…and annual membership dues & contributions to maintain the Amapas Patrol car, repair the streets, etc. Each organization, by itself, is pretty powerless. Together, they’re a powerhouse working to get things done for Amapas.
The Amapas Junta Vecinal is the elected Neighborhood Organization recognized by the City of Puerto Vallarta to represent and care for the interests of the residents of Colonia Amapas.
It’s also our responsibility to actively support the unique and special qualities of our neighborhood, and develop projects that improve its appearance, security, livability, and appeal to visitors – particulary in the beach and business area: the heart of Amapas.
Our goal is to partner with the City government, public-spirited local residents and businesses, and our fellow local non-profit organizations to develop, finance, complete and maintain these projects.
“Pulpito Plaza” is the first of what we hope will be many such partnerships.
Intersection of Pulpito & Olas Altas, as it is today
The intersection of Pulpito and Olas Altas – at the foot of the Pinnacle stairs – is now a barren and unremarkable stretch of pavement – neglected, unlighted, and uninviting.
There’s no sense of ‘connection’ between the ‘hillside’ east… and the west side. No reason to walk up Olas Altas from Emiliano Zapata to the corner and take a look – no sense of anything special.
But there’s real potential here.
Potential to create a sense of place, of arriving somewhere – a welcoming, well-lighted ‘Gateway’ to Pulpito’s burgeoning ‘restaurant row’ and the beach.
That’s our goal: to realize the potential. To provide light and visual interest, a sense of safety. To encourage clean streets, provide places to sit and wait for a cab or shuttle, to look around…and to have something to look at. To create a comfortable shaded area to eat, drink, read, or enjoy the new mural; to encourage visitors to use Pinnacle’s two elevated plazitas.
Intersection’s Bare, Unattractive & Unused South West Corner
NIEGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT GOALS
The Junta Vecinal believes that, as our first neighborhood improvement project, Pulpito Plaza should have four main qualities. It should be: Useful, Attractive,Affordable, and Soon.
The intersection’s Overgrown & Underused North West “Tropicasa” Corner
THE BASIC DESIGN
The basic design connects the disparate corners of the intersection through the repeated use of large-scale planters and wrought iron street lights & street furniture, traditional ‘Viejo Vallarta’ finishing materials, painted pavement designs, and a mural.
The resulting improvements are simple and relatively easy to construct, install and maintain.
THE NEW ‘PULPITO PLAZA’
Looking up Pulpito to the intersection, now bracketed by planters and park benches,
With new trash containers nearby.
Across the street – now painted with a unifying focal design –
new benches, tables, chairs. An original mural.
And, above that, tables, chairs, colorful umbrellas, and freshened landscaping.
THE PINNACLE ‘PLACITAS’
Tansformed into an inviting and useful public space.
Tables, chairs and umbrellas for dining, drinking, and taking in the view
down Pulpito to ‘Restaurant Row’ and the beach.
THE ‘TROPICASA’ (NW) CORNER
Each sidwwalk ‘bulb-out’ with its own compliment of colorful tropical foliage,
park bench seating, attractive trash containers, and wrought iron street lights.
THE OPPOSITE (SW) CORNER
An attractive tropical planter marks the entrance to Pulpito’s ‘restaurant row’
and provides casual seating.
Wrought iron street lights illuminate the sidewalk and rebuilt steps.
Plan & Computer Renderings by ARQ Fanny Oliveras Ricardo
The design, development and realization of “Pulpito Plaza” is sponsored by The Amapas Junta Vecinal and its sister organization, the Amapas Neighborhood Association (ANA), whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Amapas.
This is a group effort, and we are looking for contributors & willing partners.
Your comments, suggestions, contributions and sponsorships are welcome. And your financial support, in-kind contributions or volunteer help to coordinate the project and assist with neighborhood outreach & fund raising will be greatly appreciated by your friends and neighbors, who will all benefit from this project.
You can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer 2014 Ad
The Amapas Neighborhood Association is beginning a media campaign to inform potential buyers about Responsible Development in Amapas.
The first ad for this campaign, which will be placed in English publications geared to potential US/Canadian homebuyers, is for the GayPV magazine for the summer of 2014. The intention is to drive buyers to the ANA’s website to learn what Responsible Development means, and to encourage them to ask if a project they are considering is in accordance with the Plan Parcial.
The ANA welcomes developers to submit plans to the ANA for review to be granted the designation of a “Responsible Development”.