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Residents in Dzityá, town famous for its handicrafts, force workshops to close

City cracks down on artisan studios after residential neighbors complain of dust and noise

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Dzitzyá commissioner Josué Alfredo Cua Pool said that lost jobs at artisan workshops have outraged the community. Photo: Yucatan a la Mano

Can residents co-exist with Dzityá’s traditional artisan workshops? Or more precisely, can the established workshops survive the neighbors?

Merida’s satellite city to the north, famous for its wood and stone vessels and carvings as well as its annual artisan fair, is finding out.

An estimated 80 percent of the population of Dzityá depends, directly or indirectly, on the sale of handicrafts. The area also has seen an influx of upscale housing projects.

Unnerved by dust and noise, neighbors have so far forced two workshops to close, and there are more studios in sight, reports the newspaper Yucatan a la Mano.

“The workshops were closed due to complaints from residents who live in the new and exclusive housing areas near Dzityá, because they contaminate with dust and noise,” an artisan said anonymously.

Dzityá Commissioner Josué Alfredo Cua Pool said that the situation has outraged locals sympathetic with the people who lost their jobs.

At the Jats’ Uts Tunich workshop alone, 15 artisans are now out of a job.

“… It is very strange that in such a peaceful community and artisans, the complaint of a single person has prospered in a matter of days,” said one artisan.

One neighbor told the ACOM news agency that the complaints are valid. Although he regretted the workshop’s closure, his daughter’s home was constantly layered in dust from the workshop next door.

Even before upscale housing was built nearby, the situation was unsustainable, said José Nazario Pool Pech.

The workshop grinded stone from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and his complaints were ignored, said Pool Pech. Promises to build a wall high enough to contain the studio went unfulfilled.

Merida’s Directorate of Urban Development closed the workshop, and at least one other, on April 23.

Merida Mayor Renán Barrera Concha, while discussing imminent noise regulations for bars and nightclubs, said that there is openness to dialogue in Dzityá.

“They will have the support of the city council as long as work conditions are met,” he said.

Sources: Yucatan a la Mano, ACOM, Punto Medio

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