Dragon Mart Cancún has been denied construction permits
On April 23, the municipality of Benito Juarez – where developers were planning to construct Dragon Mart Cancún – announced that the project was denied construction permits because the plan they received is too high-density for the area and was not the same as that received by other government agencies. “The project isn’t in compliance with regulations and obviously, we had no choice but to follow the law,” said the mayor, Julián Ricalde Magaña. The day before this announcement, the developers announced they had filed a lawsuit against the municipality because “it has been several weeks since we presented our application for a construction permit and we still don’t have an answer,” in the words of Dragon Mart Cancún representative, Juan Carlos López. Maybe he hasn’t tried to get construction permits in Mexico before – or maybe this is blowback from a misplaced mordida.
Ricalde said the negative resolution was ready to be delivered a week ago, but that the SMEDU (City Department of Ecology and Urban Development) had decided to gather a few more expert opinions to make their resolution more “robust” (no, they really mean it this time). SMEDU had formed a technical committee of academics, environmental experts and others to review the Dragon Mart project. One of the invited participants on the committee was CEMDA (Mexican Center for Environmental Law), which has expressed concerns about the transparency of the project and its environmental impact for months. “The fact that we have a resolution that follows the letter of the law and is very technical allows us to hold our heads high in front of society,” added Ricalde. López stated that the developers’ application complied with all documentation requirements, otherwise it would have been rejected immediately by the municipal authorities. He said that they hoped to have a ruling on the lawsuit from the state court by August and that “we will continue working on other aspects of our investment project, since we are convinced this is a benefit to the region and to Mexico.”
The president of CEMDA, Gustavo Alanis Ortega (you can read my interview with him here) said in a press release that “those of us who have worked for 20 years promoting the legal defense of the environment and natural resources support the decision of mayor Julian Ricalde, who has shown openness and transparency in receiving information, studies and solid research…which led him to make the right decision in denying the [Dragon Mart Cancún] construction permit.”
Proceso, Niegan licencia de construcción a Dragon Mart (Apr 23)
Dragon Mart Cancún website, Dragon Mart a Cancún: no todo está dicho (Apr 25)