The Councilor for Urban Planning of La Laguna (Tenerife), Santiago Pérez, has come out against the criticism and accusations made by the Canary Coalition (CC) in the City Council regarding the file opened to the mayor of the town, Luis Yeray Gutiérrez, for some works Illegal acts carried out in your home.
CC gave a press conference on Tuesday in which he stated that if he did not obtain an explanation in 24 or 48 hours as to why a sanctioning file has not been processed, the mayor will adopt “the political and judicial actions that are considered appropriate.”
The Councilor for Urban Planning, Santiago Pérez, explained to this newspaper that sanctioning files have not been opened for years, only extremely serious ones, which is not the case with the file on the works at the mayor’s house. It is an illegality that is considered minor, since a pergola and the closing of a balcony were made with aspects that were not covered by the mandatory procedures, or in the description of the works provided to Urban Planning, or in the procedure of the communication of the works. However, Pérez reminds that since it is a minor work, it is not necessary to obtain a building permit. As the two previous procedures (communication or description) were not fulfilled in some aspect, the file was opened. Some aspects of the work were legalizable, for which it was necessary to request (now yes) a license. Others, like the aforementioned pergola or the balcony, do not. The mayor, explained the councilor for Urban Planning, has already removed the pergola, and that the balcony “is in the process of execution” of its demolition.
Pérez has described the file as of “insignificant importance” and has detailed that since 2014 there have only been ten sanctioning files in La Laguna. The vast majority of those that have been opened in the municipality are minor infractions (more than 2,000), and do not carry a sanction, as is the case with the mayor’s file, he added. What they do imply is the reestablishment of the legality prior to the works. Or what is the same, demolish the illegal works and leave the space as it was before.
Since that year, he added, urban planning legislation provides for so many bonuses for the offender in the sanctioning procedures that “the processing of these procedures is very inefficient, especially when it comes to infractions that, due to their low seriousness, very few sanctions are contemplated. elevated”.
For all this, since then the Town Planning Department has stopped processing disciplinary proceedings in urban planning, except in cases of great significance or importance, focusing its means on resolving all possible restoration proceedings, that is, the demolition of works illegal.
Priority to the most serious cases, without ceasing to process the minor ones
In addition, it has clarified that in 2020 it gave an instruction to the Urban Planning Department to give priority to the defense of legality against serious infractions. “That does not mean that small ones are not processed” and he recalled that only one file has ended in a sanction in recent years, and it was the one open to the company Tricampa for building a parking lot of thousands of hectares in Geneto without any type of permit . Pérez has defended that with this instruction, which CC has insinuated was given to “protect the mayor” despite the fact that it is from 2020, what is actually intended is to “establish an order of priorities” for the processing of restoration procedures (demolition) and thus prevent some files from expiring, responding to the legal principles of fairness, proportionality and less intervention. That is, according to Pérez, the only novelty, since the instruction also included criteria established in previous legislatures, such as “not considering disciplinary proceedings a priority unless there are exceptional circumstances of seriousness or significance of the infraction.”
That is to say, the file opened by the works in the mayor’s house has followed all the usual channels. “In the face of works of this type carried out by any other citizen, the Management would not have considered processing a sanctioning file as a priority,” the councilor pointed out.
The councilor has opined that “the desperation of the spokesman for the Canarian Coalition, Jonathan Domínguez, due to his lack of project and leadership, which has them on the brink of the electoral abyss, leads them to resort to entanglement and lies in relation to the instructions of the La Laguna Town Planning Office on town planning infractions”.
He maintains that “it is false that the instruction allows me to arbitrarily decide who is sanctioned and who is not. And, above all, it is directly a slanderous statement to say that I have given favor treatment to the mayor or to other prominent militants of the PSOE at the same time that hundreds of citizens are being sanctioned”.
“There has been no favored treatment,” Pérez has sentenced. “An objective criterion has been followed, it has been seen that it is not a serious infraction and only serious ones are processed” to impose a sanction, he insisted. What has been done is to order the removal of illegal elements. In addition, he has recalled that 100% of the files are processed by the administrative staff of the Planning Department. “I do not intervene,” he concluded.