Semarnat approvals required for all projects within 20 Km of the beach

 

In the not too distant past, the approval process was very lose and often disregarded. Those days have come to an end and rightfully so. If you want to build new or modify the exterior of an existing stucture, you need to follow the approval process. In the area of Progreso for example, which includes Chelem, Chuburna, Chicxulub, as well as Progreso and some other inland areas. You need a building permit for any additional modifications to the property. In addition to the normal papers required for building you also need approval from Semarnat, before you touch the project in anyway. If it is a bare lot within 20 Kms of the Gulf of Mexico, you need a full enviromental assessment for the land, architectural Plans of your proposed build and that has to be submitted for approval to Semarnat. This can take up to 6 months to be approved, once submitted, if it is done correctly. If you own a home and want to add a new set of stairs or a pool, then you need, depending on the area of the land, the vegatation on the land and some other variables, one of 3 things. 1) a full enviromental assessment 2) an exemption to the assessment or 3) a letter of no requirement for an exemption. If for example you have an old house and the yard has been solid concrete for 30 years and was built before Semarnat existed then most likely a letter of no requirement might be appropriate. But, if there are green spaces that are currently sand only, you may get away with an exemption from the assessment. If you have bare land with native shrubs or a home with a variety of native plants then most likely the enviromental assessment would be required. The time frame for an exemption, for example can take from 6 weeks to 4 months. Some contractors may tell you, it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask for permission. But SEMARNAT and their enforcement arm are serious and the fines nothing to laugh at. It would not be fun to get a 100,000 peso fine for a 5000 peso set of stairs. Plus Profepa will stop the project dead in its tracks, by putting up a Clausurado sign. So in addition to the fine, your project may be closed for months till hearing are concluded and fines paid.

If you hire a reputable contractor, they should have the ability to deal with all this on your behalf, as you will need proper architects plans in most cases. It is not something you can really do by yourself or have the local handyman handle for you.

Profepa, has a dedicated group actively patrolling to catch violators working with out permits or tearing out bush with out approvals. They take this stuff very seriously and like I said earlier the fines can be horrendous, if you destroy a protected plant.

Follow the rules, it may take time and money, but you are not going to get a knock at your door 6 months from now asking to see the SEMARNAT paper work for your pool.

 

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