There are no areas on the island that are cut & dried zoned for commercial or residential.

Just because a developer scratches the word "commercial zone" on a proposed subdivision map - it doesn't make it so in the eyes of the law.

The only way to ensure completely legal zone areas is to declare them, and record the property as such on the deed (deed restrict.)

As you may be aware, in order to zone Hol Chan Marine Reserve many years of lobbying and legal hoops needed to be negotiated. It is the same for land based zoning areas.

Biggest problem is that in most subdivision areas on the island there will already be someone that has established himself, either residential or commercial - and he may not agree with the proposed zoning and wouldn't be required to comply because his deed would not be restricted.

In the case of strata titles (condos) you will see that they have deed restrictions that require that the owner be governed by both the laws of the Belize and the recorded and filed by-laws of the condo project.

So the trick is probably to lobby the developers of larger tracts on the island to actually go the extra mile and deed restrict zones in his subdivision according to a master plan.

Although the island has "proposed master plan" that is has adopted to use as guidelines, the plan was never registered and never became law - so one should never assume that because you buy a lot in a neighbourhood full of private homes, that it will necessarily stay that way. This is another reason why it would be great to see more neigbourhood block parties so that the neighbours can all discuss any concerns they have and be prepared to band together in times of crisis. It is always good to even set up a little emergency fund in case an immediate injuction needs to be filed before something awful creeps into the neighbourhood practically overnight.

If everybody lives on his property and imagines that he is an island unto himself, the truth will come up and slap him in the face when he least expects it.

My neighbourhood doesn't have block parties but we keep in touch via sporadic emails so that we have an idea what is going on or is planned in the vicinity. It helps to be familiar with your neighbours since you all have a substantial vested interest in your 'hood.

The San Pedro Business Association is working on hosting a number of town block parties such as the recent Lobster Fest. Maybe these gatherings could be extended to include "meet and greets of new residents."