La Paz’s Development Future in Question

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The tourist development EntreMares, located on El Mogote, right beside the development Paraiso del Mar, has received word that the Tribunal Federal de Justicia Fiscal y Administrativa or the Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice has canceled Semarnat’s approval of the project.
However, the Director of the EntreMares, Agustín Olachea Nogueda, said the development won’t go down without a fight. The land for EntreMares was bought by Olachea Nogueda’s father and uncle 50 years ago.  The family started working on putting together a development plan years ago and slowly started receiving permits and permissions required by law to develop the land.
Semarnat, after receiving and reviewing the environmental impact study of EntreMares completed by experts and researchers from La Paz’s state university, UABCS, as well as from CIBNOR and CICIMAR research centers, approved the project back in 2009.  However, due to the financial crisis, Olachea Nogueda and family decided to hold back on starting construction.
However CEMDA, an environmental law-firm based in the city, challenged the approval of EntreMares by Semarnat and filed suit in Federal Court using a law based on a presidential decree—a binding decree—issued by ex President Lazaro Cardenas that no vegetation on El Mogote could be cut. But the zone, which the decree encompasses, does not just pertain to El Mogote.  It covers all of La Paz and surrounding area.
The judge said that SEMARNAT violated the law when it gave the permits to EntreMares and wrote that, “The protected forest zone based on the Decree of the year 1938 is a Natural Protected Area.” The judge, therefore, canceled the project.
Olachea Nogueda however, argues that all of La Paz then, based on the Decree, is a protected forest zone and therefore asks, can there be any development at all in the area?
La Paz Mayor Esthela Ponce Beltran and Governor Marcos Covarrubias have both said that tourism is the motor of the economy of the city and the state and the future for economic growth and job creation.  How is this possible if every new development, hotel or building that wants to be constructed in La Paz can’t based on La Paz being a Natural Protected Area?  And what about all of the developments that exist already?  Are they illegal?
“It is frustrating.  We are concerned about what this decision by the high court in Mexico City says about future development in La Paz.  If EntreMares cannot develop because of a presidential decree from 1938 that created a forest protected zone around the City of La Paz, then essentially they are saying there can be no development in La Paz.  A precedent has been set.  How is La Paz going to grow and attract investment and generate jobs if we can’t have develop?” Olachea Nogueda asks.
Olachea Nogueda also claims that the Decree goes against the Urban Development Program (PDU) of La Paz.  “Who is deciding what we do here in La Paz?  A judge in Mexico or people here in La Paz?”
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