Thinking of turning that lot you own into a parking space? Think twice.

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For a parking space to be profitable it depends on its location, size, turnover and what other services it offers.

Since traffic has been restricted in downtown San Jose and the price of gas has gone up, parking lot owners have reported 20 to 30 percent lower income in the past year. Because of this, many now offer small eateries, car-washes, tire-changing services, etc. to attract more business.

Since 2002, not one of the 190 parking lots in San Jose has been robbed.

New parking lots are not allowed to hold more than 200 vehicles or be larger than 3,000 square meters. Average lots have 30-50 spaces. Laws require a permit for the lot from City Hall. They must be paved and have good drainage and separate entrances and exits.

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  1. Each space must be at least 2.5 m by 5 m. long and 10 percent of the lot must have spaces that measure 3 by 6 meters.
  2. Turning radiuses must be a minimum of 4.66 meters and traffic lanes must be at least 3 meters wide.
  3. A minimum of two spaces must be allowed for motorcycles, measuring 3.3 by 5 meters each.
  4. Handicapped spaces must take 5 percent of the total, with a minimum of two, measuring 3.3 m by 5 m.
  5. Bathrooms should have one for men and one for women and new parking lots must offer bathroom services that suit handicapped needs.

Insurance: A parking lot should have insurance against robbery, injury, death, fire and damages a car suffers while parked in the lot. The premium depends on the size of the lot.

Security can be enhanced with well-lit subterranean lots and fire extinguishers. The ticket should mention the color and license number of the vehicle and the number of the space in which the vehicle is parked.

For more information in Spanish, please see La Asociación Costarricense de Estacionamientos y Afines

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Please pay attention to the requirements!

  1. The petition plus a copy goes to the Department of Study and Design, Engineering Traffic Dept. (Departamento de Estudio y Diseño, Dirección General de Ingenieria de Tránsito). It should also list your telephone number and fax.
  2. Photocopy of land use from City Hall., which should be up to date and be no more than one year old.
  3. At least two heliographic copies of the site design in CFIA format.
  4. Photocopy of the registered dimensions of the property. If the name of the owner differs from the one on the petition, you must present certification from the Public Registry that you are the actual owner.
  5. Certification of your legal status with your legal ID. It must be up to date.
  6. Sworn declaration, duly certified, attesting to the owners commitment to purchase an insurance policy no later than eight days after permits are given.
  7. If a rental contract exists between the landowner and the parking-lot owner, an up-to-date copy of the contract must be presented.
  8. Exact location of the public parking lot, preferably in streets and avenues, and an address where owner or renter can be reached.

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Our thanks to our friends at La Nacion – Costa Rica’s largest Spanish circulation newspaper for their permission to use their article in English..

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