Construction and urban development in San Miguel

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

The current administration has granted several permits for construction over the past months, some of which stand out because of their magnitude. Among them are a new housing development near the arches of el Atascadero, a new gas station on Libramiento Manuel Zavala and houses near Charco del Ingenio. In January information started circulating about construction of a new neighborhood center in El Obraje, and some people started talking about a second one on Salida a Celaya. These constructions, according to Édgar Bautista, director of Urban Development, have not been authorized and people can rest assured that the local government is managing urban growth with responsibility.

Commercial construction

In January of this year a video and an email started circulating on the internet with information about construction of a new shopping center near the intersection of Calzada de la Aurora and Salida a Dolores. This centro de barrio (neighborhood center), according to those sources, would affect nearby neighborhoods in a 1.5-kilometer radius. The shopping center, it was claimed, would include a Soriana store, other medium-sized and small specialty shops, restaurants, cafes, banks, boutiques and other services in a 22,000-square-meter complex. Bautista said that this administration has not issued any permits for this kind of construction, and he made it clear that the only chains that are negotiating with the administration to develop stores are Sam’s and Superama.

Bautista said that construction by big commercial chains “is no more than a rumor. There are no permits for developing shopping centers or branches of the stores. Some establishments have been renovated, but there is no new construction.” The director said that representatives from Superama and Sam’s have been in contact with municipal authorities to get permits to open on Salida a Celaya, behind the Pollo Feliz, but “in the last meeting that we had, we informed them that the construction was not viable because they did not have authorization from the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation [SCT], because the location is near a federal road and close to El Pípila traffic circle, where more than 15,000 vehicles circulate daily.” Although Bautista did not mention the name, he said that there was a petition for the construction of a large store selling construction materials, but they wanted to build it close to El Pípila traffic circle, like Superama and Sam’s, and they also did not have permits from the SCT.

On Libramiento Manuel Zavala a new gas station is being built, but according to Bautista it fulfills the requirements established by PEMEX (Mexican Petroleum) and that the gas stations do not pose a danger because of their locations. Bautista said that the only one at risk of a collision is the one next to El Pípila traffic circle, but that if a motorist lost control of a vehicle and collided with the station there would not be a risk of explosion.

Housing developments

Currently in San Miguel there are more than 120 housing developments, but only five percent have been finished; the rest are in the process of selling, completing infrastructure and modifying the layout and others have had to reinitiate the process for getting land use permits. Bautista commented that this administration has not authorized new housing developments because the idea is to consolidate those already existing. The housing developments currently under construction are the Polo Habitacional La Esmeralda (which will offer low-cost housing), on the new road to Guanajuato, and Zirándaro, on the road to Querétaro. Bautista remarked that in 1995 the process for construction of a new residential development located between el Atascadero and Barrio de la Palmita was started. The original plan for this development was to build 300 houses, but after review by the local government the plan was changed and the land was divided into 100 residential lots and the remainder will be a green common area. This fraccionamiento (development), whose entrance will connect with the arches of Atascadero, currently only has a permit for urbanization, which consists of the construction of streets and sidewalks and the installation of electricity, potable water and drainage. This new residential development could be concluded in the next five years.

Those wishing to build a development must meet many requirements, and the final decision is made by the city council. Those interested must ask for permits for land use and urbanization, authorization of layouts (some portion of the land must be donated to the municipality), a permit for construction and finally authorization for selling the houses or lots.

Other construction

On Prolongación Cuesta de San José near an undeveloped parcel of land a new structure is being built, and some people have said that it will be a church. Bautista said that this construction (currently halted) is just a house. “There were some rumors affirming that it would be a church, which is completely false. If the owner designs his house to resemble a church he can do it, but always following and respecting the regulations of construction from the municipality,” said the director. Bautista also said that construction projects are analyzed and authorized by his department and when they authorized this construction there were no signs it would be a church. He added that work is regularly overseen by personnel from Urban Development and if there are changes in the original plans for the construction the work is suspended. Currently the walls of this construction have an average height of 3.5 meters.

Alongside the south wall of Residencial Las Fuentes, four more houses are under construction. Four families decided to come to live in San Miguel and purchased the land and now are building their houses, but it is not a new development. The total area of each lot is 300 square meters. At the intersection of Prolongación Cuesta de San José and the Allende traffic circle is a large walled property that belongs to Fraccionamiento el Deseo, which began the process of construction in 2002, but it was stopped because of several legal problems with El Charco and the SEMARNAT (Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources). These legal proceedings have now ended and the owners have started the process of getting their permits from the municipality. On Prolongación de Montitlán next to El Charco there is another development that has permits for construction and six more houses are being built, along with two more on the street leading to El Charco.

Bautista said that all the construction projects authorized by the local government must display a green sign indicating they have been approved. He thanked the inhabitants of San Miguel for being concerned about new developments and civil construction and said that all complaints are reviewed by personnel from his department.

Read more about constructions in El Atascadero on next week issue


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