The buildings in Placencia are mostly single story or two-story homes. We do not have zoning laws here, so you can build whatever you want. There has been a huge war over that issue because anyone can do whatever he or she wants in Placencia. There are some people who are happy about it and there are some who get mad about it.
We were originally not allowed to have a fence, but everyone has a fence nowadays. The fence shouldn’t be more than the certain number of feet, but not everyone follows that rule. Unless your neighbors complain, you can do whatever you want.
Placencia is a melting pot of different cultures so the homeowners are from everywhere and therefore, they have different styles. Placencia has several huge and gorgeous houses and some cute little cabins. Overall, the buildings in Placencia are still pretty.
If you go to Punta Gorda (off the Peninsula), you will not be allowed to build more than three levels. In Placencia, you don’t build up to three levels because your neighbors will get mad, but by law, you can do that. This is why there are a lot of groups who are fighting over that issue. Everyone wants to insist on what they want.
The construction quality is high, but that could also depends on the owners. A Belizean who does not have a lot of money might have a contractor who does not built up to hurricane proof standards. If you want to, you are able to find some contractors in Placencia who are able to build with good standards. For the ones who have more funds, then they will surely get a contractor and they will have some very nice buildings. To me, as long as the job is done properly, it is not a problem. Often times the problem is that Belize is so Americanized. They all think that we can be in America, even though that we are still a Third World Country.
There are some people who complain about a house not having the right nail and stuff like that. Those things do not bother me. I have gone through hurricanes and I’ve seen these houses stand. I’ve seen resorts that were still standing after the huge Hurricane Iris in 2001. The buildings that were affected were the ones that are made of wood, but the ones that are made of concrete where not moved.
In Placencia, we have Mennonite communities. We don’t talk much about them in Belize, but they are our kin. We get rice from them. We get beans, vegetables, dairy, and they are ahead on construction. There are many Mennonites who are contractors. There are contractors in Belize who have built hotels that are of high quality and often the contractors are Mennonites.
(Charming rental home in the village of Placencia, Belize, pictured.)