Joint Newsletter Nov. 21, 2020
Court Judgment In Favor Of the Ecological Zone Of El Charco Del Ingenio:
In response to the lawsuits filed in 2019 by El Observatorio Ciudadano de los Sanmiguelenses and El Charco del Ingenio before the State Court of Justice, requesting to maintain the integrity of the El Charco del Ingenio Ecological Preservation Zone, the magistrate of the Court issued a ruling favorable to the Citizen Observatory’s claim, ratifying the suspension issued in Dec. 2019.
The lawsuit filed requested the annulment of the 2017 City Council agreement, which attempted to irregularly modify the polygon of the aforementioned Ecological Preservation Zone, a 650 acre municipal reserve officially declared in 2006, which includes areas of great environmental, scenic, and historical value, such as El Obraje and El Charco del Ingenio canyons, the Botanical Garden, the Landeta Park, various sections of the Bicentennial Park and wetlands endowed with abundant wildlife. Said building agreement reduced the area of the reserve by tens of acres, with the apparent aim of promoting real estate and urban development projects.
The citizen lawsuit also asked the Court to prevent such modifications from being incorporated into the Municipal Program for Urban Development and Territorial Ecological Planning 2019-2040 (PMDUOET), which also introduced changes in land use that allowed urban development in the municipal reserve.
Although the Court’s previous suspension had already forced the City Council to reform the PMDUOET to prevent the impact on the preservation area, the recently handed down sentence conclusively confirms the annulment of the 2017 modifications, as well as the prohibition to introduce changes in land use in the reserve, which was intended to be done by segmenting its surface into three new UGAT (Environmental Management Units), allowing “urban settlements” in their conservation areas.
The final decision of the magistrate ratifies the integration of the reserve into a single UGAT, as established in the previous development plan (POET), based on the Declaration of the Ecological Preservation Zone published in 2006, prioritizing the environmental conservation and limiting urban expansion in its territory.
We consider that the judgment issued by the magistrate of the Court reflects a growing awareness in judges about the enormous importance that natural spaces have in the integral and sustainable development of society.