Protecting Merida’s Quality of Life

                                                Is this what you want going on next door to your home?

Merida is a wonderful place to live… just look at the statistics documenting the numbers of people moving here from other states in Mexico and from other countries .

So many settle here for the “quality of life”-

However, the “quality” is at risk for homeowners in Merida’s “Centro” (the downtown area). There are now so many restaurants, bars and night clubs, and the noise levels are out-of-control. Rules and regulations that “manage” these businesses do exist, but obviously there is a lot of “oversight”…

I know one resident of the Santiago area who had to close her guest house because the racket coming from two bars, nearly every night of the week, made it impossible for her guests to sleep.

Someone very dear to me is watching in horror, as what seems to be a giant eatery, is being set up right beside him on Calle 47. The young family’s home shares a common wall with this place, and the owners (investors from Mexico City) refuse to reveal their full intensions. Jack hammers are pounding all day and into the evening, so I think there is A LOT going on. And I ask, who is “gaining” from this invasion of a homeowners’ rights?

The neighbors who established their homes long before “the investors” moved in have every right to see their property respected, but they are led around the mulberry bush  time and time again.

Finally a meeting has been scheduled to address these issues with the:

  • Chief of police
  • Director of Urban Development
  • Officials of the Ministry of the Interior and Justice
  • Director of Tourism

If you are concerned (and we all should be) please come to the meeting:

Friday March 24, 2017

4 PM

In front of the Church of San Sebasistian, Calle 75 # 549 X 72 and 70)

If you have any evidence to support your complaints (decibel readings, video, photos, testimonials, or documentation of your interaction with the business owners or authorities) please bring them to the meeting.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you are worried that your participation will be construed as a political act (which is forbidden for foreigners) please get that idea out of your head. This is not solely a “foreigners’ protest”. It is action led by this city’s local residents who wish to conserve the very way of life that makes their city so attractive to themselves and other people. They are sick and tired of unrelenting, mismanaged “progress” that destroys their tranquility, just so “the investors” can make more money.

My husband and I will be at this meeting, we hope you will join us.

Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include reading, painting, cooking and travel.

14 thoughts on “Protecting Merida’s Quality of Life

  1. Has anyone ever suggested a ZONING committee or zoning bylaws to govern what types of businesses can be successfully integrated into residential neighbourhoods, and designating downtown business districts? The random placement of houses and small businesses side by each is problematic for noise, shared walls, parking, traffic congestion, waste, odours, etc. but without ANY zoning, nothing can be done to change this, or even to define usage.


    1. There IS zoning; it is not enforced though. There are also trafic rules and regulations about parking… the problem is that few of the laws are enforced. This might have been doable when Merida was a small city. But it has grown and will continue to grow. Hopefully today’s meeting will be a first step towards needed change


  2. ‘Zoning’ seems to be a problem everywhere these days. People in residential neighbourhoods should be able to retain their quality of life. In Greater Toronto, the problem was monster houses, three stories high being sandwiched in amongst 1950s bungalows and completely overshadowing them. Where we lived in Aurora, and backed onto a golf course (premium priced lots), the developer suddenly applied to ‘add’ 38 more lots, mainly behind existing houses so that they would lose their golf course abutment. We formed a very active homeowners’ group, hired lawyers, fought city hall, elected a whole new city council, and won! Successful but very stressful for two years.

    On the other side of the coin, I’m presently on the board of a society providing affordable housing for seniors in Victoria. The present 80 unit building was constructed on the front half of a 4 1/2 acre piece of land in a residential neighbourhood, one block in from two major arteries, 40 years ago. With good management we have paid off the mortgage and are now ready to build another building on the rear part of the property. This was church property and zoned for multiple housing. A year ago, the neighbours decided they didn’t want another building and went into protest mode – everything from decreasing their property values ( the houses they bought for under $50,000 now sell for $700-900,000), to being spied on by elderly people 50 feet away from their windows. Typical were complaints like: there is a legal 5 foot right-of-way so that residents can walk to a small shopping centre. The homeowner on one side, at some point planted 5 fig trees along the path which have now grown into large trees; she got away with that, so later put a fence with a gate across the path and paved the road end to enlarge her driveway. She complained at a city council meeting that she didn’t want strange people traipsing over her driveway (not hers). Another complained that a ‘new service driveway’ caused flooding on his property (that driveway has been in the same location, maintained but not altered, in 40 years). A three-story building was a big issue. We need 3 floors in order to keep costs and therefore rents down. The facts that a two-story building would require a footprint half as large again (and therefore would need to be much closer to their houses), and if we put on a gabled roof (legal) it would be higher than a three story building with a flat roof completely escape them. City council finally supports us on 84 units for seniors. In the middle of all the meetings and complaints, I suggested that we start a rumour that we were going to sell the building for a rehab centre for drug users and alcoholics and recovering sex offenders to give them a new start in life. The church people on the board frowned at this. Our problems very different from a noisy nightclub.

    It is possible to fight city hall. Organization, good lawyers, and erudite spokespeople are the way to go. But oh, it’s a long battle.


  3. I agree that we all have the right to protect our quality of life and the noise and other problems created by restaurants and similar businesses should be addressed respecting the law and the right of every neighbor to live in peace and quiet. That is why I can’t understand why in this same blog of yours in this article your are promoting a restaurant that also has live music and is surrounded by “homeowners in Merida’s “Centro” (the downtown area)”, and the worst part is that a daycare center is less than 20 meters in front of it which is clearly a violation of the law.


    1. Claudia, I appreciate your comment, and am pleased to see you consider mine. Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I can see, it is a matter of degree. In the time I have lived here, the locale where Los Alebrijes is now has been a cantina and a store. The music I have heard at “Los Alebrijes” has been a one or two man “conjunto”. “Los Alebrijes” can be completely closed, and the times I’ve been there, it shut down about 10 pm. The daycare center is on the other side of a wide street and is set back. I consider this a reasonable compromise, a live and let live situation. When you are talking about a live 5 or 6 piece band playing outside until all hours, it is not a mutually agreed upon situation. As well, the noise carries a long way.


  4. Yes, it is a matter of degree.
    While for some Los Alebrijes and similar bars are enjoyable places, for others who live right next door to a noisy establishment, it is another story. Especially when one has small children who go to bed early and have all the right to sleep quiet and peacefully.
    Regardless of the size of the band, we don’t wish to hear the music or the loud patrons inside our house.
    Besides these annoyances, it is actually illegal to sell alcohol within 200 meters of a school.


    1. If this is your situation, I suggest you speak with the owner, Sergio Solis. I think he is a reasonable person and would certainly listen to your side of the issue. In El Centro the 200 meter. restriction for alcohol consumption near a school is just never enforced. We had a “down and out” bar right next to our school and despite our complaints nothing was ever done. We finally had to buy the building and then pay a lot of money to get the people out. We endured the bar for 18 years, and once we purchased the property, it was another 2 years. So, believe me, I know what you mean…


  5. I am sorry but I did not hear of this meeting until now and it is too late. In Toronto there is a bylaw that states everyone is entitled to “the quiet enjoyment of his own home”. While noise, loud music, barking dogs, etc., are a problem, the BIG one is high rise buildings of 30 storeys and more. Those who hold the money are the ones who get their way. Developers have taken over the city and the lakefront is blocked with ugly tall buildings. Where we once were able to view the beautiful CN Tower when it changed colour on special occasions we can do this no longer because it is now completely blocked by ugly high rise condos. While Chicago has its problems, one good thing is buildings must be a specific distance from lake frontage. I know this is more about noise than eyesores but both are a big issue and spoil the integrity of a city we all moved to by choice and loved.


  6. I live in this same block as your friend on Calle 47 and am also worried about the large new business that will be opening up. I spoke with one of the construction workers there and asked what it was going to be. He said it would be a restaurant in front and shops in the back. And that there was going to be music. I asked what kind of music, was it going to be loud disco? He said “grupos conocidos” in Mérida. I’m not sure what that means. He said it wouldn’t be loud, but he’s just helping build the building, so I don’t think he really knows. BTW, another restaurant is going into the red building at the corner of 47 and 54. If you learn anything more about what this business beside your friend’s house will be, please let me know!


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