General Law on Human Establishments

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Dear Clients and Friends:

This past November 28th 2016, the General Law on Human Establishments, Territorial Regulation and Urban Development (the “Law”) which is of public order and of general observance within all national territory was published in the Federal Official Gazette.  This Law abrogates the General Law on Human Establishments published in the Federal Official Gazette on June 21st 1993.

The main purpose of this Law is to set the basic provisions and instruments necessary to organize the use of the territory as well as of Human Establishments1. With the purpose of implementing such provisions and instruments and carry out the planning and arrangement of Human Establishments, the Law establishes the involvement and concurrence of the federation, as well as the states and the municipalities.

One of the medullar and most important aspects of the Law is the involvement of the three governmental levels (federal, state and municipal) which are invested with a series of attributions as well as mediate performance obligations.

Among some of the aforesaid attributions we find the following: (i) to establish provisions according to which engagement of the citizens in the planning, follow up and evaluation processes as regards this Law will be promoted; (ii) to formulate, approve and manage territorial organization and urban development programs; (iii) to order the creation of new Population Centers2; (iv) to impose administrative sanctions to the infringers of the legal provisions of the urban development programs; and (v) to establish in the applicable laws and regulations, the guidelines to which the authorizations, licenses and permits related or prone to the use and enjoyment of the land within urbanized areas or areas that are susceptible of being urbanized, need to abide by (such as subdivisions, mergers, relotings, fraccionamientos, condominiums, as well as construction, enlargement, reconstruction and demolition of real estate of public or private property).

It is important to mention that the Law foresees the creation of state and municipal councils with the purpose of ensuring the consultation, opinion and deliberation of the Urban Development3 policies. In the case of the municipalities, these shall establish the plans and programs for the growth of Urban Development. These plans shall determine the specific actions necessary for the preservation, improvement and development of the Population Centers as well as the corresponding zoning.

Another one of the most important features of the Law is that the same establishes certain terms for the legislative and all corresponding authorities (for all federal, state and municipal levels) to carry out the necessary acts to adapt all current legal dispositions and regulations and to do so in accordance with the guidelines established by the Law, that is, it pursues the unification of the applicable legal provisions establishing concrete terms to that effect. For example; Transitory Article Third states that within a term of 1 year from the publication of the Law, the authorities on a federal, state and municipal level shall adjust the legal regulation provisions to the contents of the Law. Another example, is Transitory Article Fifth which states that within a term of 2 years from the enactment of the Law, the plans and programs of Urban Development of the Population Centers over 100,000 inhabitants including the national, state and municipal plans need to be adapted. This would be the case of Los Cabos and La Paz.

It is worth mentioning that the terms stated by the Law to comply with the obligations therein established vary depending on the type of obligation (6 months, 1 year, 2 years).

Concluding, the new Law is a consequence and an integral part of the legal amendments that have been carried out in these last years. The Law seeks to sustain its provisions in the human rights recognized by our Constitution and by International Conventions, applicable in urban matters and of territorial organization. For these purposes it provides a larger social inclusion and involvement in these topics, environmental sustainability, fairness in burden distribution and the benefits of urbanization, productivity and competitiveness in the urban economic structure.

It is for the abovementioned that we consider that by virtue of the foregoing and the other provisions contained in the Law, a punctual follow up on the amendments to the provisions regarding Urban Development currently in force that the state and the municipality have to do is of mayor importance, to identify which will be the new regulations to follow in these topics that will apply on a municipal and on a state level, accordingly.

Note: This document is a summary with disclosure purposes only. It does not constitute a legal opinion and may not be used or cited without our prior written consent. We assume no responsibility for the content, scope or use of this document. For any comments regarding this Memorandum, please contact any member or attorney of Consulbaja S.C.


1 The Law defines Human Establishment as the settlement of a demographic conglomerate, in conjunction with their coexistence systems, in a physically located area, considering within the same its natural elements and the material works that comprise it.
2 The Law defines Population Center as the areas constituted within urbanized zones and that are reserved for their expansion.
3 The Law defines Urban Development as the process of planning and regulation of the creation, preservation, improvement and development of the Population Centers.
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