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As the City Takes Down Billboards on the Road to Querétaro, Government Officials Turn an Eye Toward Pedestrian Bridge Advertising

By Jesús Aguado

Thirty billboards of all shapes and sizes have recently been removed fro the road to Querétaro, after Mayor Luis Alberto Villarreal announced at his state of the municipality report that they were illegal visual pollution and would be taken down.

During his 100 Days Report, Villarreal announced that the billboards that stood on the roads coming into San Miguel were illegal because they lacked permits granted by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation and from the Office of Urban Development.

But while some billboards are already gone, the government’s fight against intrusive advertising in San Miguel de Allende is just getting started. It’s now rethinking concessions granted by the 2006–2009 mayoral administration to billboard-sized ads mounted on pedestrian bridges throughout the city. The San Miguel de Allende City Council will work on cancelling the permits granted to the company that placed those advertisements, said Office of Urban Development Director Abelardo Quero.

Quero, whose office is leading the enforcement campaign against illegal billboards for Villarreal’s administration, told Atención that the moratorium on granting change-of-land-use permits in the city has given his office more time to focus on the “forgotten” topic of billboards, including giving workers more time to conduct an inventory of billboards throughout the city. Just four persons are responsible for close to 150 billboards on the road to Querétaro, he said.

These structures and advertisements are being built without permits. Quero’s office not long ago stopped construction of two unpermitted billboard signs on the road to Dolores, a case in which workers were caught in the act of erecting it. One of those billboards could be seen from the Cruz del Perdón Church, he said.

“The Office of Urban Development must issue a permit for such structures,” he said.

According to Quero, the removed materials are being stored on municipal lands and can be claimed by owners, though they will have they will have to pay a fine for each structure, ranging from 50 to 10,000 times the national minimum wage, which is 82.50 pesos.

After finishing with enforcement on the road to Querétaro, his office will next focus on billboards on the road to Celaya and Dolores, Quero added.

 

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