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Building in Yucatán, Part 2: Permits and contracts for the beach

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Veronica Garibayhttp://yucatanmagazine.com
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Alongside the Yucatecan coast, ports like Chicxulub, Chelem, and Chuburna have become popular grounds for residential developments.

Beach houses in Chelem, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

For the past 20 years, newcomers and locals alike have taken to the beach for their new properties, which has reduced the available land for purchase and sky-rocketed the prices for pre-existing homes. Yet, if blessed with a large budget or some good luck, you might find a lovely plot of land or a home at the beach, available to buy or remodel.

When developing in Progreso, and some other inland areas, in addition to the building permit for development provided by the state, you will need to start an assessment by SEMARNAT.

Developments in coastal Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

In 2014, Decree 160 was published with the purpose of carrying out the ecological regionalization of the coastal territory of the state. Thanks to it, all housing, tourist, commercial and service construction must be subject to a study that will determine their permitted construction density. This regulation applies to all properties on the coast and not only those with beach frontage as is commonly believed, which means if you’re planning on building — or even just remodeling a house — you’ll want to start thinking about permits.

Similar to the INAH in the historic center of Mérida, SEMARNAT is in charge of all development and exploitation of federal coastal zones and beaches. Yet the coastal zone division is not as specific as the borders of the historic center. 

For this reason, the first thing one must do to build in a Yucatecan beach is to request the Urban Environmental Feasibility (FUA ​​in Spanish acronyms). This document is an opinion issued by the Secretary of Urban Development and Environment that will determine whether the work is compatible with the use of the land for the specific area of the project. 

Construction work in Yucatecan beaches is highly regulated by SEMARNAT. Photo: Courtesy

If possible, it is highly recommended to obtain this document before purchasing the property. The procedure takes approximately 15 business days and costs $1,579.00 pesos.

Once this document has been obtained, the next step is requesting an Evaluation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

For this document, it is necessary to do an Environmental Study carried out by a biologist, to determine the fauna and flora that inhabit the space, and the impact the project would have on the environment. Additionally, you will need all legal documents required to attest the ownership of the project, as well as detailed descriptions of the project.

Progreso’s port, one of the most popular beaches in the state. Photo: Courtesy

Here’s a list of the documents required for an Evaluation of the Environmental Impact:

– Written description and address of the project.

– Official Identification of the Natural Person

– Official Identification of the Legal Representative

– Articles of Incorporation

– Title Deed

– Letter of Responsibility

– Environmental Urban Feasibility

– Environmental Impact Study

– Photographs of the property

– Project Plan

– Orthomap

– Executive Summary

– Land Use License

– Exploration or Exploitation Permits

– Real Estate Development Project Plans

The approval of this procedure can take up to 6 months, once submitted. Although it may seem like a long time frame, knowing the duration of the procedures will come in handy in the long term when developing your building plan. 

Once you obtain the Environmental Impact permit, you can proceed to request the Construction Permit from the City Council, from the Municipality where your property is located.

Although these steps might seem excessive, the large volume of developments around the state demands a critical eye.

Supporting and complying with these procedures will help us in the permit department, and will help maintain the beautiful beaches where we want to live.

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