CITIZEN POWER got a major boost with the decision of Panama’s Third Civil Circuit Court to "revoke" a building permit approved by the Mayor’s Works and Constructions Directorate for the Sea Point project, in Paitilla.
The decision, dated August 11 says that the building adjoins the Bay of Panama and "stands on a bank of beach not subject to private appropriation."
The judicial action was received with jubilation by Paitilla residents and civic groups, whose fight against the project led to the annulment.
Representatives of the developer Desarrollo Bahía, said they are analyzing how to proceed. The project has been under way since 2015 and $30 million has been invested.
Harley Mitchell Jr., a lawyer for the neighbors, said that the decision is based on law, as the permit granted by the Mayor is contrary to the Constitution which says that the shore of the beach "is not developable.".
Residents of the community and members of the Citizen Networksay that the Court has has set an historical precedent regarding urban development.
Darío Vásquez Wolff, one of the neighborhood spokespersons said: "This is a triumph not only for Paitilla, but for Panama, because it sends a warning to the rest of the promoters that you cannot take spaces that belong to the State.
María Chávez, president of the Network, said that the judicial authorities acted fast and, despite "pressures" did the right thing.
She said that citizenship needed "good news" because they have been challenging construction permits for years, reports La Prensa.
"This ruling is a wake-up call for officials of institutions, such as the Mayor's Office, The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Housing who are involved in the approval of works and must enforce the rules," said the activist.
The Sea Point is being built near Heliodoro Patiño Street, and consists of three towers of 30 floors and 108 apartments, as well as a social area, gym, pool, among other facilities.
The work, is 45% advanced, Work was suspended August 1 by the director of Works and Constructions, Antonio Docabo.
This led to a group of workers partially closing Via Italia calling for the reopening of the project,