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Illegal renovations an ongoing issue with historic buildings

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INAH continues to monitor renovation in Mérida’s historic center, often shutting down projects. Photo: File

Mérida, Yucatán — In the past year, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, found that 63 buildings of architectural value in the Centro Histórico were illegally altered or semi-destroyed.

Four were fined for refusing to comply with the provisions for redressing property damage, reports Sipse. Property owners demolished walls, bricked up doorways, changed rooflines and used inappropriate building materials, says INAH.

Of the houses affected, 98 percent belong to Yucatecan entrepreneurs working on a commercial property, according to INAH delegate Eduardo López Calzada. 

In the first frame of the city, the blocks closest to the Plaza Grande, it is especially difficult to win approval for restorations that convert windows into garages or raise roof heights. Some owners plow ahead without permits and take their chances. 

That’s risky. López Calzada said that in 2016, 58 work sites were suspended for attempting to go around INAH. Fifty of those were set straight, and the other eight are still on pause, he said.

So far this year, INAH has suspended five work sites at historic buildings.

Four of those shutdowns involved fines of 8,200 pesos apiece.

Mérida has the country’s second largest historic center, after Mexico City.  

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