Proposed Urban Development Plan for Todos Santos Update

 Proposed Urban Development Plan for Todos Santos Update


We were all shocked in April at a meeting with IMPLAN to learn they are going to rewrite our PDU. Here are some of the major problems we are concerned about.

Problem 1: Their plan does not even come close to complying with the General Law of Human Settlements. The law was created by the federal government to lay out the requirements all PDU’s developed throughout the country must contain. The word Sustainable is found 158 times in the document and what IMPLAN created is the opposite of sustainable.

Problem 2: It was designed to prioritize development and revenues to the Municipality through development fees and ignores the natural beauty and character of our pueblo.

Problem 3: IMPLAN ignored the legal requirement to provide risk assessments for power, water and other infrastructure needs to ensure their plan for growth does not exceed their capacity. In our case, they are all already over their capacity.

Problem 4: It does not create a plan for funding our currently needed sewage, solid waste, water, and electrical infrastructure needs. It only adds to them by dramatically increasing the number of residents.

Problem 5: It creates 50,000 new lots which would result in 175,000 new residents. Currently, we have about 25,000 residents in the region, so it represents a 700% increase.


Our PDU Versus Their PDU

Our PDU was designed to protect our pueblo from overdevelopment. Their PDU will create a ton of new development.

Our PDU laid out policies to promote our rural heritage, natural landscapes, and historic town center. Their PDU will completely change the character of our pueblo.

Our PDU specifically banned building on the primary and secondary dunes. Their PDU does not adequately protect them.

Our PDU created minimum lot sizes in the coastal RT zone of 2,000 square meters. Their PDU will allow lots as small as 400 square meters so 5 homes can be built where 1 is currently allowed.

Our PDU restricted development to single-family homes along the coast. Their PDU will create urban sprawl in many areas.

Our PDU only allowed construction on 25% of the lot. Their PDU increases it to 40% or more, eliminating much of the natural vegetation between dwellings.

Our PDU only allowed 2 stories to be built with a maximum height of 7.5 meters in the town and in most coastal areas. In most areas, their PDU eliminates the height limit and allows an extra level plus a rooftop shade structure.

Our PDU only allowed eco-resorts to be built with a maximum density of 10 rooms per hectare or one room per quarter acre. Their PDU creates a new hotel zone that allows much higher room densities and up to 4 floors.

Our PDU had areas designated for agriculture. Their PDU eliminated them.

Our PDU was written by our community. Their PDU did not have a single person from Todos Santos involved in drafting the document.

We are Taking Legal Action Now Before the New PDU is Voted On

Protect Todos Santos is funding a lawsuit accompanied by a petition signed by local residents and foreign nationals to inform IMPLAN and the local officials that will vote on their plan, and the problems and violations it contains. We will be asking the judge to not allow a vote on the plan until the case is settled. If IMPLAN is not willing to work with us on a better plan, we will try to kill their plan and keep our current plan in place. Even if it does get approved, we will have the opportunity to have it voided due to the many federal laws the plan does not comply with.

Mexican Nationals and Foreign Residents Working Together to Protect This Magical Place

If you want to provide comments directly to IMPLAN there is more information on the plan and instructions on this page on how to submit them:

Our Water Crisis

Protect Todos Santos hired PhD Hydrologist William Sanford, a professor at Colorado State University, to review the reports on the Todos Santos aquifer and prepare a report of findings and recommendations. He found three significant threats to our town’s aquifer.

Over Extraction

Thirty to fifty percent more water is being extracted from the aquifer than is recharged in an average year. 

Saltwater Intrusion

When the aquifer water levels drop below sea level, saltwater replaces the freshwater in the aquifer. The saltwater is denser than freshwater so the saltwater sits at the bottom of the aquifer and reduces the amount of fresh water the aquifer can store. According to Dr. Sanford, samples should be taken regularly to determine how far inland saltwater is intruding.

The Invasive Plant Arundo/Carrizo has filled the Todos Santos aquifer, and it is estimated it is transpiring or consuming about 500,000 cubic meters of water a year (the equivalent of 50,000 water trucks) while impeding the flow of water from the spring.

Detailed information on the report’s findings and recommendations can be found on our website at:

Update on the Ogden Dune Lot Construction

Some of you may be wondering why the dune project in Las Tunas on Vista Ballenas that was shut down last April has been going full bore for the past month. The answer is the lot owner, Eddie Ogden, decided to start construction. The problem is he violated a court injunction that was supposed to stop the project until the case went to trial. Our response has been to file a lawsuit against Eddie in federal court to stop the project. It is very frustrating and hard to look at, but our attorney, John Moreno, feels confident the project will be shut down. We are also hoping the court will require the construction to be demolished, and the dune restored.

We Hope You Will Consider Making an Investment in Our Future

Even though much of the work we do is performed by volunteers, as we have grown, we have had to hire several staff members to help with the workload. The good news is that we are now accomplishing so much as you hopefully understand as you read this newsletter.

To ensure we can continue to battle the municipality and the looming threat of their new PDU and our desperate need to solve our water crisis which threatens our future, we hope you will consider visiting our website and donating to our organization. Donations are tax-deductible in the United States. They can be one-time, or you can sign up for a small monthly donation. Every bit helps us protect this magical place we all love and call home.

Muchas Gracias,

The Team at Protect Todos Santos.