If you live or have gone to the beach, you probably know the term, or know it simply as “THE FEDERAL ZONE”, but do you know what it is? How it is defined? How it is calculated? Or it is public or private? We will address the questions in order.

WHAT IS ZOFEMAT AND HOW IT IS CALCULATED? According to article 119, section I of the General Law of National Property (LGBN, in Spanish), in beach zones, the ZOFEMAT is the 20m wide area inland, passable and contiguous between beaches. However, the same law in article 7, section IV, defines the beach as the land area that covers and discovers the water in its annual maximum tide (low tide and high tide). Therefore, to obtain the ZOFEMAT, you must first know the maximum tide level. This can be calculated by topographical surveys considering the tide charts of the Mexican Navy

REGARDING ITS USE. The article 7 of the LGBN also establishes that the ZOFEMAT is a federal common good of public domain and therefore inalienable, imprescriptible and nonseizable, and not subject to definitive or provisional possession actions However, it is possible to use it, exploit it if it is requested to SEMARNAT through a Concession Title. The concession is a right that does not grant possession.

The application for the Concession Title is done through the so-called “SINGLE FORMAT” in the State agencies, but whose evaluation is centralized in DF (Distrito Federal). The allowed uses are the following:

PROTECTION: To maintain the natural state of the surface and non-profit activities. ORNATE: Constructions without foundations, exclusively destined to beautify the place or leisure of the applicant, non-profit activities.

PRIMARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITY: Agriculture, livestock, fishing and aquaculture.

GENERAL: When it is different than the above.

Use of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Maritime Zone (photographs of Progreso, Yucatan).

In addition, there is a “temporary use” during the holiday periods through the so-called “TEMPORARY PERMIT”, this is a special permit usually used for commercial activities that does not require constructions in the ZOFEMAT. Despite have been answered the questions posed, there are many others related to the application of the Concession Title, such as, what happens if two people apply for the same concession area? Do I need an environmental impact assessment? Can I apply for land gained to the sea? How long does the process take?

These and more questions will be addressed later.


This post is also available in: Spanish