Warning to Mérida’s bump-out builders gets teeth

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Forcing pedestrians off the sidewalk can bring hefty fines under new building regulations in Mérida. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán — The city’s warning against sidewalk-hogging homeowners will be easier to enforce.

Authorities are again threatening to remove cages and grillwork that extends into public sidewalk space. If this sounds familiar, that’s because they said this back in August and September.

So what’s new? Lawmakers have given police the authority to dismantle any nonconforming structures that bump out into the sidewalk to accommodate oversized cars, or simply to enlarge a room a little. Pedestrians often have to jump the curb to bypass the protrusions, putting them in possible danger.

The action follows a series of investigative stories published in Milenio Novedades, a Sipse-owned tabloid covering Yucatán. When the articles were published late last summer, the city responded with promises of a crackdown.

At the time, Urban Development Director Aref Karam Espósitos said that the city received an average of two complaints a month from citizens whose creative carpentry ate up public space. Cases were reviewed individually, he said, because no general policy had been established.

But that changed Jan 5, when the city was given the legal tools to follow through on their threats. That’s when adjustments to the official Construction Regulation came into force.

Fines can range from 700 to 250,000 pesos if a homeowner refuses to comply with the law.

“It has never been allowed to build on public paths, so this regulation gives greater responsibilities and powers to experts in municipal construction to denounce irregular constructions,” stressed Karam Espósitos.

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