Controversia Constitucional 65/2013 (Actor: Municipo de Chapala, Estado de Jalisco)

Land Use

Controversia Constitucional 65/2013 (Actor: Municipo de Chapala, Estado de Jalisco) (February 17, 2014)

The mayor of Chapala built a breakwater on Lake Chapala without obtaining a concession from the National Water Commission to use federal water areas. The National Water Act requires natural and legal persons to obtain a concession in order to use or build facilities on federal water areas, such as Lake Chapala.

Based on this violation, the National Water Agency initiated an enforcement procedure against Chapala’s municipality, which concluded in an order to demolish the breakwater. The municipality challenged this decision alleging that the Commission invaded the municipality’s powers on land use and zoning. The Constitutional Court first analyzed municipalities’ powers over land use and zoning and confirmed that municipalities have authority to govern land use and zoning issues under their jurisdictions.

However, the Court added that municipalities must exercise this power in accordance with federal laws and regulations. The Court found that Chapala’s municipality did not exercise its powers in accordance with the National Water Act since it failed to obtain a concession to build the breakwater. Thus, the Court concluded that the National Water Agency did not invade the municipality’s jurisdiction and upheld the order to demolish the breakwater.