We live in Mexico where life is celebrated – big and loud. It’s not unusual to have family gatherings where music is above and beyond what northerners may find acceptable. It’s important to recognize the line between cultural differences and legal violations. In order to ascertain those differences and to help ANA members negotiate their frustrations ANA President, Sylvia Toy, and ANA Administrator, Viviana Testón, met with Lic. José Juan Velázquez Hernández Director of Inspection and city bylaws (known as Reglamentos) on September 17, 2019. This City department is responsible for ensuring businesses follow the rules that apply to them. For example an OXXO or liquor store have a license to sell alcoholic drinks, but people aren’t allowed to drink inside the business. Reglamentos has 11 inspectors and 4 cars to cover all of Puerto Vallarta, so the question is how can they do that? Well, the business must know the rules and “reglamentos” conducts unsuspected visits but they also depend on the neighbor’s reports. Once a week Reglamentos will conduct unannounced visits to different areas of Puerto Vallarta and visit bars. While at the bar, they will assess whether the bar is following the rules about noise, the age of the people at the bar, garbage, etc.. However, if a neighbor notices and has reported that a business is breaking any of those rules they can call Reglamentos at 322-224-0918 322 224-7805 (24/7) and complete a report. In order to aid you in completing a report, here is what you should you say. (English is not available so it must be given in Spanish.)
- Name of the business/address
- Kind of issue
- Hay mucho ruido
It’s very noisy.
- Tiene música muy fuerte
The music is very loud.
- You also need to ask for the Report number and name of the person that is taking your report.
- ¿Cuál es el número de reporte? (hable despacio, por favor; ¿puede repetirlo?)
What is the report number? Speak slow, please. Can you repeat it?)
- ¿Cuál es su nombre?
What is your name?
- Please email ANA at email@example.com the report number, date and hour of the incident, and name of the operator. We will collect and share with Director at next meeting.
What should you expect? Depending on the number and kind of reports an inspector should come to the place to verify the information. If you have lodged a noise complaint, the inspector will measure the decibels of sound produced from a distance of a meter and a half away from the establishment. The maximum allowable are 70 decibels. The inspector’s goal is to measure the music and not the car passing by or other external noise. If the business exceeds the noise rule:
- The first time they get a warning and a request to lower the volume.
- The second time the business gets a second warning and a fine up to 11,000 pesos.
- The third time they receive a warning to close down the business.
- The fourth time Reglamentos closes down the business.
Note: These four visits must occur within a span of 10 days. If 10 days lapse, then the sequence begins all over again. Reglamentos work with businesses not condominiums or houses. If a big party is causing lots of noise in a house or condominium then you should call the police at 911. What happens if you call Reglamentos for a private party? If the inspector shows up and notices it’s a house, they might call police. But if it is a busy night the inspector might just leave. The same might happen if you call the police and they notice it is a noisy bar. They might call Reglamentos or just leave. So, who do you call? If you’re not sure, call them both. (No need to mention you have called them both). Reports are very important and these are the tools available to all residents to report. Remember there are only 11 inspectors for all Puerto Vallarta and the chances one of them is around when a violation occurs is very slight. ANA cannot report on your behalf, especially when an incident is occurring at night. On the other hand, ANA can give you the tools to lodge an official complaint. ANA can collect the data for all of those complaints and provide them as evidence of a larger problem when we meet with City officials. ANA is committed to keeping our neighborhood a desirable location for all. Meetings with the Director of Reglamentos is important but we need to bring facts to him. Please help us help you and REPORT! NOTE. The new law about noise, that was approved September 2018, is still not applicable. Why? The state law changed as well and they need to realign to said law. It should have been ready for implementation last March, however, the city still working on it. Now it’s a matter of time. The most important change to the law are the fines: instead of a maximum of 11,000 pesos per violation the fines can go up to 50,000 pesos per violation. We will keep you posted about it.