On September 5, a Federal Collegiate Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in response to the lawsuit filed in 2020 by residents of the Balcones and Rinconada de Balcones neighborhoods of this city--26 signatories in total--requesting the maintenance of the integrity of the El Charco del Ingenio Ecological Preservation Zone and Surrounding Areas. This ruling confirmed the nullification of the City Council agreements of 2017 and 2018, which sought to reduce the ecological zone by dozens of hectares as well as to introduce changes in land use that would open the door to urban development and real estate businesses within the nature reserve.
The injunction just granted by the three federal court magistrates is in addition to a similar ruling recently issued by the Administrative Justice Court of Guanajuato, which strongly impedes any attempt to alter the protected zone and prohibits the proposed modifications from being included in the Municipal Program for Urban Development and Ecological and Land Use Planning 2040 (PMDUOET).
This 392-hectare nature reserve, officially declared by the municipality and in effect since 2006, includes areas of great ecological, scenic, and historical value, such as the Obraje and Charco del Ingenio ravines, the Botanical Garden, Landeta Park, several sections of Bicentennial Park, as well as wetlands with abundant wildlife. It also includes surrounding buffer zones, where real estate projects such as Garambullos and Santa María del Obraje are located, which are obligated to respect the housing densities and construction heights established in the Declaration and ratified by the courts of both the State and--now--the Federal levels.
The ruling of the magistrates is a comprehensive document based on human rights enshrined in the Constitution, such as the right to a healthy environment and the right to water--both of which are threatened in San Miguel de Allende by the irresponsible proliferation of real estate developments promoted by recent municipal governments. It is worth noting that this new ruling undoubtedly reflects a growing awareness among judges of the enormous importance of natural spaces and their ecosystems in the integral and sustainable development of society.