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'Where there is noise there is no rest,' a sign in Mérida reads. 'Where there is noise there is no rest,' a sign in Mérida reads.

Authorities silent over noise levels in Mérida

Residents want live music restricted to soundproof spaces

There is too much noise in the historic center of Mérida, Yucatán, but authorities are silent on the issue.

That was the overall gist of messages written on banners that were hanging from more than 200 homes in the Yucatán capital when locals woke up on Sunday morning.

Residents say that rowdy bars, cantinas, nightclubs and restaurants located in the city’s downtown are creating so much noise that they have lost their right to live in peace. Moving live music from open-air areas into soundproofed spaces is one of their fundamental demands.

Many say they have been left with no other choice than to take sleeping pills to get some rest after a busy day.

Instead of looking out for the best interests of children, the elderly and the sick who live in the heart of the city, authorities have favored converting the historic center into a boisterous nightlife area, a resident told the newspaper Diario de Yucatán.

Another resident identified only as Cécile said that “when you live with so much racket at all hours you end up going crazy.”

“The root of the nightmare is that the owners of the establishments don’t respect the law, but neither do the authorities. They’ve arrived to tell us that the current regulations are obsolete, that we have to wait for them to draw up new ones,” she added.

For years, members of the citizens’ group Todos Somos Mérida (We Are All Mérida) have been knocking on the doors of successive mayors, the Yucatán Human Rights Commission and several government secretariats in search of a solution.

They have also attended meetings with countless municipal officials, but all their efforts have been in vain.

“Our situation doesn’t improve because the authorities have never had the intention of looking after residents. Their biggest interest is stimulating investment, allowing and encouraging the opening of the greatest number of entertainment venues possible,” Cécile said.

Consequently, residents decided to take a different tact and unfurled the banners.

In response to the latest protest, the municipal government reminded residents that it has created a new Municipal Urban Development Plan that will allow authorities to intervene to preserve the peace in the downtown as well as other areas of the city.

Updated construction regulations will also require new businesses to comply with stricter noise rules, it said in a statement.

The Mérida council also said that “we are aware of and understand residents’ concerns due to businesses that have opened their doors in the Historic Center before these new regulations.”

In coming months authorities will be in a position to revoke land-use licenses if a business exceeds permitted noise levels, it added.

The president of the Board for the Preservation of the Historic Center of Mérida told Diario de Yucatán that — in contrast to what disgruntled residents say — the municipal council is interested in solving the noise problem.

However, Enrique Ancona Teigell said the new legislation needs to be put into effect urgently and must be enforced to the letter of the law.

Source: Diario de Yucatán (sp)

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