Two months after authorities in Huixquilucan halted the construction of the “pharaonic” Latin American headquarters of the Church of Scientology, there is no sign that the project will resume any time soon.
In this case it wasn’t claims of brainwashing, physical abuse or meddling in the lives of celebrities often heard in connection with the controversial church that stopped construction. It was environmental concerns raised by neighbors in the Paseo de las Palmas neighborhood of the Estado de México municipality.
Huixquilucan Mayor Enrique Vargas del Villar announced April 28 that the project had been suspended because the contractor did not have the mandatory environmental impact study issued by the federal Environment Secretariat (Semarnat).
The US $20-million, 16,250-square-meter building was to contain offices, an auditorium, accommodation facilities and a convention center big enough for 2,000 people.
But a parking lot for only 300 vehicles was one of the main concerns of neighbors, who felt it would not be big enough.
Work on the site has now been completely halted for over two months, and an unnamed source told the newspaper El Financiero that it will remain so “out of respect to the neighbors” for the time being.
One group of neighbors told the newspaper that they opposed the project because it ignores the potential environmental impact it could have on the area.
Neighbors also said it was not known what impact there might be on an already scarce water supply.
According to the legal representative of a neighborhood group, the suspension issued by the municipality is permanent, but the owners of the property can still appeal the decision.
“They are looking for ways to continue building there but without the pharaonic dimensions they originally intended; those who will ultimately resolve the issue are the judicial authorities,” said Eugenio Olvera.