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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2
BrendaP Offline OP
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Greetings - Newbie here.
I recently lost my mother - and my only child will be off to college in another year - so I have found myself seriously considering a complete change of location. After looking around a bit, Ambergris Caye is high on my interest list! I've done a bunch of "googling", but came across this forum and figured y'all would be a much better resource!
I'm thinking of building, since I'm not looking at needing to be there immediately. I have some friends who are also considering making this move. How do I find the zoning and building/code requirements? We're thinking off maybe finding a larger parcel of land and building 3 separate houses on it.

Thanks in advance for any information!!

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 7,052
You will want to work with a realtor and a builder to get the info. There is a master plan but it is only a guideline and we don't have true hard and set rules. We do have a building authority and planning office but until you have a specific property in mind you won't be able to get full regulations for anything. Basic rule of thumb - now - 4 storey height limit (unless you are near an aerodrome) in some places - some places will limit you to 2 storeys, or 3 and in some cases you may be able to build 5. As far as set backs - generally 10ft on each side, 20 from the front and 10 from the back line. However, this varies too - in town set backs are 2 - 4 ft - new construction is often 15ft. You will need to be on municipal sewer system but that isn't available everywhere so then you will need to have an approved septic waste system. You might need an environment impact study..... As you can see, variables are the only constant !

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,267
Best advice I can give is come to the island for a little while - pick an area that appeals to you for daily life (which may be different from your choice for vacationing) - after targeting a location you will know if there is something already built that works for you or if there are parcels large enough to hold the community-build you envision. Location, location, location. Further, there are variables in infrastructure from spot to spot. Water is essential - and in many areas (most actually) of the island you will need to provide it for yourself. This factor will have a lot to do with how you design your home - fresh-water well? de-sal? rain-catchment? And last bit of advice ....... keep it simple. You'e going to be outside a lot - square footage is less important than functionality. Who wants to clean a big house anyway!

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
Do make sure to check out your contractor thoroughly. They can be very good 'sales people' and people in San Pedro are prone to keeping their bad experiences with contractors to themselves, often out of embarrassment for not doing their due diligence or out of fear of retribution. It wasn't until we started having problems with ours that people came out of the woodwork to tell us their own horror stories and we just thought 'Thanks! Wish you had told us that before'. Find out about other properties that they have built. Speak to people who own and/or are living in those properties and to any property manager that may be involved (unless they are friends with the contractor - which can also be a problem in terms of getting honest info). Find out if there are any consistent stories of the same problems over and over, as this is often the case. Don't be fooled just because the properties look 'pretty'. That 'pretty' can hide all sorts of flaws. Good luck!
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Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,563
Brenda - you have received excellent information from very well informed and honest people. Please listen carefully! I call it "listening between the lines." Sometimes it's what is not said that matters the most. I bought a condo that was just a design on paper and lived through the building process. Sold that and designed and built my 3 story house. I learned a lot! I've made some wonderful friends through this adventure. As has been stated, there are no zoning laws. What was known as the premiere residential area "Tres Cocos" has become the entertainment center and does not have the same noise restriction as town core.
I have to remember "everything is subject to change." Bottom line - I love living here. Maybe we will meet someday. Good luck.

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Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 2
BrendaP Offline OP
OP Offline
Thank you Harriette ~ I truly appreciate all the information. The fact that everyone has been so open and willing to provide their input and share their experiences.

Now I just need to figure out if I can make a living down there.... or will have to wait until I am old enough to actually retire. LOL

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