About two dozen ANA members gathered on November 8 for ANA’s Membership Consultation, hosted by Casa Cupula’s ‘Taste’ restaurant. The meeting provided an opportunity for members to ask questions, offer suggestions, raise neighborhood issues, and air complaints, so that Board members could get a better sense of what’s on members’ minds and what their priorities are.
Board members, along with ANA Administrator Viviana Teston, answered questions and took lots of notes. Among issues raised:
· Q: Mike Lyman wanted to know about the deteriorating condition of the Abedul stairs, which many residents and renters take from Hortensias down to Calle Amapas.
· A: This is a big, complicated project because the stairs are so old and so badly deteriorated, plus giant, invasive trees with giant, invasive roots, and many encroachments by neighors. ANA conducted a University Architectural Design Competition last year to find a good design starting point, but the closer we looked at the stairs, the bigger the problems and cost to repair. ANA is currently sponsoring the creation of an Executive Plan for Calle Pulpito, improving sidewalks, adding planters and street lights, and taking overhead wires underground. The object is to present the finished plan to City Hall for approval and execution. If successful, the Abedul Stairs will be our next Executive Plan initiative.
· Q: Richard Francisco complained about loud late-night truck braking on the highway near Paramont Bay – could topes help? Also, the Bomberos turn on their ambulance siren as they leave the Casita, even in the middle of the night, with no traffic. Can anything be done…?
· A: This is really a matter of Transito enforcement. Two or three years ago, at neighbors’ requests, ANA posted signs warning drivers NOT to downshift to slow their vehicles on the downgrade in the Paramount
Bay area, which is the practice that causes those loud, late-night ‘truck farts.’ No luck with the signs.
It’s unlikely that topes will help, but maybe make even more noise as cars and trucks encounter them in the middle of the night. We’ll discuss topes a little later. All ANA can really do is petition Transito to pay attention to the problem and maybe assign occasional patrols to stake out the area and ticket offenders. Frankly, we’re doubtful that this will become a police priority, but we can ask.
Regarding the Bomberos’ late-night sirens: we have a good relationship with them, and we will make a request. No promises.
· Q: Merv Prichard also said that truck airbrakes were a problem, and expressed concern about pedestrican safety at the Hortensias intersection crossing, and asked about the Highway Sidewalk Project.
· A: Your ANA Board has appropriated funds to repaint our highway crosswalks, topes, and the center-line, all the way to Basilio Badillo. Transito has agreed to do the painting, it’s just a matter of ‘when,’ and Viviana is bugging them regularly.
In Mexico, vehicles have the right of way, and it’s ‘pedestrian, beware.’ So Transito determined the placement of our five Amapas crosswalks, not for maximum pedestrian convenience, but for maximum visibility – so pedestrians could see vehicles coming, and vice-versa. Hopefully, repainting the crosswalks and the white warning stripes will help, but it will always pay to be on your toes.
The answer on a Highway Sidewalk start-date was, we’re working on it. City Hall has placed us ‘in the queue,’ and we’re waiting impatiently – maybe a couple more weeks. (Ed. Note: Phase One has since started, and, at this writing, is about a week away from completion.)
· Don Oxford expressed concern and asked for information on the risks to condo buildings, associations and owners when individual owners advertise their units for rent.
· A: This is an issue that has been simmering for years. We know from experience that SEAPAL (and probably other utilities) have been sniffing around for a couple of years, trying to ID individuals renting out their properties, which can make them ‘commercial,’ as opposed to strictly residential. In a situation where a building has multiple owners, but a single utility source and billing ID, theoretically, a single rental unit could trigger a re-designation of the entire building, leading to a higher rate for everybody, and more frequent billing.
Unregistered, and UNTAXED rental properties may also be facing a financial wakeup call, as Mexican governments at all levels become more able – and more motivated – to identify owners who are not reporting rental income…and not paying the taxes that go with it.
In order to fill the ‘information gap’ on this subject, ANA will be hosting a MEMBERS ONLY Presentation on Mexican taxes and other liabilities owners may face. The event is scheduled for Saturday, January 8, 2018, 11 AM at Encanto. We’ll be sending out invitations soon.
· Q: Someone asked about the sad state of the makeshift stairs that descend from Hortensias, at the north end of the bridge, to the Callejon – a longstanding ‘shortcut’ used by residents and workers to get up and down the hill.
· A: Two years ago, your ANA Board appropriated funds and hired workers to transform the old-tire stairs into a solid and safe all-weather cement block stairway, and even add a railing. Unfortunately, the owner of the property blocked us, pretended to negotiate a one-peso/year, revocable-by-her-at-any-time rental agreement to memorialize her uncontested rights to the property…and then stopped answering the phone: Dead end.
Considering the interest expressed, ANA will research with the Planning Department whether there is any way around this stalemate that will improve pedestrian safety without violating property rights.
· Highway Topes: Some neighbors want more, some want to make the ones we have at Callejon de la Igualdad go away forever.
· A: This is an ongoing balancing-act between public/pedestrian safety, and the ability to breeze along the highway unencumbered and carefree, not to mention not having to endure the bouncing.
And there´s no easy, One Size Fits All answer – someone will always be unhappy because there are too many – or too few – topes on our highway.
We’ll continue this conversation, and try to figure it out.
There was also a discussion about all the new condo towers springing up in downtown, aka Emiliano Zapata. The sense of the room (well, actually 100%) was that ANA should take a strong stand and do whatever it reasonably could to encourage responsible development that respects the neighborhood and the law, and discourage out-of-scale new construction.