Legal or Illegal, the Urban Development Program Continues
By Jesús Aguado
The Urban Development and Environmental Management Planning Program is illegitimate, immoral, and illegal, say members of the Citizen Observatory. Meanwhile, Mayor Mauricio Trejo sent the director of Urban Development, Édgar Bautista, to defend the program.
The plan is “perfectly legal, moral, and will bring direct benefit to the entire population that has use of land,” said Bautista.
The approval of the Program of Urban Development and Ecological Zoning (POET) renewal proposed by the local administration has been qualified as a “replacement for the current program” and therefore does not depend on the local administration, but on the state government.
In July, an update of the Development Plan was submitted to public consultation, although there were no forums or tables of analysis for review, only a released file with more than 800 pages, which, according to members of the Citizen Observatory, was impossible to read in such a short time. The estimated time for citizens to issue their opinions is 40 days, but the administration allowed only 21 days.
It has been said that these changes in land management, which would change the density of housing of H1 (low) to H3 (high), especially on the road to Querétaro and the road to Dr. Mora, will lead to disorderly growth for future housing developments. This would require not only public services, security, and water; but would also be devastating to the ecology. It has also been said that new industrial areas could be built.
Members of the Citizen Observatory, an organization formed by members of civil associations, added that this program is a threat to the sustainable development of San Miguel, development that for now, they say, “is due to particular interests.”
Even the elected mayor, Ricardo Villarreal, has stated that the program is illegal and that his city council, who will be in charge on October 10, could reverse it. Villarreal has said that the interests that handle that update are not concerned with the benefit to sanmiguelenses. Édgar Bautista said that the period to ask for the citizens’ opinions, ending July 31, is according to the law, which does not specify a number of days to conduct it. He said that until the first week of August they were still receiving the observations of the citizens to integrate the entire document, which will be sent to the state secretaries to be authorized. Once the plan has been passed by the state secretaries, the city council could approve it. However, he was clear in saying that the process is uncertain and that it could be ready before the end of this administration, or could not, because it doesn’t depend on city hall. The study for this plan cost 510,000 pesos.
On how the plan could benefit just a few, Bautista said that it is not intended to benefit a particular person, “it is to benefit the whole population. By law we are required to update the land use plan every five years, and that is what we are doing.”
He said that this update favors the citizens that need to change the land use, and that it will be “good for the local and regional economy. This is to give legitimacy to the land uses, and in addition it will create a new way to order the land uses.”