Lomas de San Miguel Could be the Biggest and Most Populated Neighborhood in the City

Mayor Ricardo Villarreal

Mapa de ubicación

Loma de picachos, proyecto sin concretar

By Jesús Aguado

Lomas de San Miguel would be constructed over 50 hectares. It would be a project that would offer houses to those who can prove a 10-year-residence in town. The highest price, thanks to different subsidies, would be 100 thousand pesos. The project would feature 5,000 houses with basic services: water, electricity, drainage; a religious and recreational center, a supermarket, schools, and public plazas.

Accessible Housing only for Sanmiguelense

“San Miguel has a serious problem. The cost of living makes it almost impossible for the inhabitants to buy a house. It is an expensive city, which is good; but this also generates problems for those most in need because there have been no public policies on housing for a long time. The authorities have not made important efforts to provide housing to the people,” commented the mayor RicardoVillarreal. He noted that this forces people to buy “irregular” land in ejidos (communal land) and later the government has to make them legal, as it did in Ejido de Tirado, where 200 million pesos were invested in 2017 to guarantee people a decent place to live. “If people have bought land with problems, that is because they had no other choices, and nobody deserves to live with no basic services in the 21st century in San Miguel de Allende,” he continued.

Lomas de San Miguel is a housing development that would be constructed on 50 hectares of land on the road to Los Rodríguez, close to Conservas San Miguel. That new neighborhood would have basic services and a market place, a church, parks, schools, and recreational areas. The project would be finished in 10 years. More than 20,000 people would live there, and it would be the biggest and most populated neighborhood in San Miguel.

This development “would be just for people from San Miguel de Allende to buy a house or for those who can prove that they have been living here for ten years because the houses will have a subsidy and will be very accessible.” Villarreal told Atención that institutions like FONAPO, INFONAVIT and the Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal are involved in the project. That is why a house could cost 100,000 pesos.

This, according to the mayor, will be a national model and that is why the Hipotecaria Federal gave four million pesos to the Local Institute of Housing to develop the project that began last year. “We will defeat the lack of housing, doing the right thing from the beginning.”

In addition, Villarreal told us that people could work in the Industrial Park that will offer thousands of jobs in the years to com. He mentioned that the second phase of the park will be developed next year on 120 hectares. He also noted that his administration is still working to connect the upper area with the road to Dolores and diminish the traffic on Libramiento Manuel Zavala.

Projects Flying Without Wings

In the Federal Secretariat of Social and Human Development’s 2015 Report on Poverty and Social Backwardness, San Miguel was ranked 32 (of 46) in social backwardness in the state. The same study states that San Miguel has 171, 857 inhabitants living in 42,695 houses—an average of 4 people per home. Of those constructions, three percent still do not have concrete floors; 18 percent do not have drainage; 10 percent do not have a proper toilet, and almost 8 percent lack water.

When Luz María Núñez Flores was mayor from 2009–2012, she said her administration had looked for ways to develop low-cost housing. In December 2011, with eight votes, the city council agreed to a change of land use from forestal (forest) to housing to pave the way for the Lomas de Atotonilco development, which was to be located on the road to Dolores Hidalgo near the Santuario de Atotonilco in a paleontological zone. This change of land use would allow the BANTERRA company to build 8,000 houses, on the condition that BANTERRA hand over 18 different documents to the city council within 20 weeks.

In a regular city council session held on May 29, 2012, the members decided to cancel the land use change for the Fraccionamiento Lomas de Atotonilco because the developer did not guarantee the treatment of waste water or a potable water supply. BANTERRA also did not plan for increased traffic and never presented documents issued by UNESCO or the INAH against or in favor of the housing development. Mayor Núñez, who declared herself the main promoter of housing in the municipality, said that it was a shame that BANTERRA did not fulfill the requirements.

At that time, Núñez commented that when the municipality received all the documentation from BANTERRA for developing Lomas de Atotonilco, “some citizens contaminated the directives of UNAM and INAH with lies, saying that the housing development would affect the paleontological zones declared by UNAM.” Despite that information, the local government granted the change of land use, which was later revoked.

Núñez also commented that she had always been in favor of creating affordable housing. She said that when her government canceled the granted permit, “BANTERRA had the right to bring a lawsuit before a state judge because they did not accept the decision of the local government, since the paleontological zone was not being affected.”

Ejido de Tirado is a place made up of at least ten neighborhoods with a population up to 10 thousand people who have bought land—sold several times to different people—and then have constructed and moved. Later, many of them do not have a deed to prove the ownership of their own houses. The zones turn into irregular housing areas and the government has to help them first to legalize their land and later to get basic services.

To prevent that, Sanmiguelenses have to pay for the improvements in those places. Villarreal assured that his administration has a legal process against Quinta Real, a company that divided land into 5,000 lots and later decided to sell them at prices that went from 60 to 100 thousand pesos. However, the company would not provide basic services for the homes or for the infrastructure to those who were buying the lots.

This project was stopped. Otherwise, Villarreal said later, “the local government, that is to say sanmiguelenses, would have to invest 400 million pesos to provide these people with urban equipment and services. The mayor compared this development with places that have been developed, he said, in Cuernavaca or Acapulco and have been abandoned by people and later occupied by organized crime. “That is the reason why we ought to know what types of people will come to live in our city and where will they work,” Villarreal said. He assured that the previous administration approved the division of 17 thousand lots in new places like Quinta Real. This was not fulfilling the Urban Territorial Code, which states that when land is divided, it has to be registered as a development or as a condominium for more than 24 spaces. But Quinta Real would not even construct houses. That was just the price of the land. He said that Splash had an authorization to develop 5,000 houses, but they decreased the amount to 1500. Now the services are guaranteed.

“San Miguel has a serious problem. The cost of living makes it almost impossible for inhabitants to buy a house. It is an expensive city, which is good; but [this] also generates problems for those most in need because there have been no public policies on housing for a long time. The authorities have not made important efforts to provide housing to the people.”—Ricardo Villarreal.


 

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