In reality nobody knows which hectares will be included in the Charco del Ingenio Ecological Preservation Zone, but fines were indeed levied for some evasions. In the end, everything went back to how it was originally decreed.
The Ecological Preservation Zone was originally comprised of 392 hectares, with a core area that includes Presa Las Colonias, Presa Obraje, Las Cañadas, El Charco, and part of Parque Landeta. In the core preservation zone (see map) there is urban and ecological development that is a wildlife conservation sanctuary. Urban Development is allowed in the buffer zone, but it is limited to a maximum construction area of 100 square meters. Additionally, houses must be single-level, the introduction of exotic flora and fauna is forbidden, and construction must be five meters from the core zone.
In 2010 the municipal administration implemented the first Ecological and Territorial Planning Program, giving the Environmental Management Unit (UGA) 40 km for the preservation and buffer zone. In 2017, the city council agreed to adjust the coordinates of the area. However, according to spokespeople of the organizations Citizen Observatory, Charco del Ingenio, and neighbors of the Balcones neighborhood, “dozens of hectares were cut off from the area, and the possibility of uncontrolled urban development opened up.”
Then, in 2019, the City Council approved the new 2040 Ecological and Territorial Organization Plan in which, according to the preservation organizations, “the change of coordinates and changes in land use would be legalized in order to build developments such as Capilla de Piedra.” Consequently the Observatory and Charco filed a lawsuit in the First Chamber of Administrative Court, for the area to remain “as it was in the beginning.” The judge ruled to suspend the plan, ordering the City Council to leave the layout as it had been since 2006. Council members abided by the ruling, but they effectively changed the land use for part of the buffer zone. Then, due to some omissions, the 10 city councilors, trustee, and mayor were fined 6,000 pesos.
Finally, in December 2020, in a move to maintain the integrity of the Ecological Preservation Zone El Charco del Ingenio and surrounding areas, the titular magistrate of the First Chamber of the State Administrative Court of Justice issued a ruling favorable to the Citizen Observatory’s lawsuit, ratifying the definitive suspension issued in December of 2019.