North coast of São Paulo and the threat of ‘passing the cattle’ – 06/07/2021 – Opinion

The Serra do Mar massif (SP), as it extends from south to north, gets closer to the coast. And it is in São Sebastião that the marine plain becomes narrower, including a long cliff.

Among the 280 Brazilian coastal municipalities, it is the national champion of vulnerability to the evils of building verticalization and the densification that comes in its wake. This territory is unsuitable for intensive occupation due to its physiographic and geomorphological characteristics, fragile soil (hydromorphic alluvial), outcropping sheets and drainage problems. There are also serious difficulties for the final disposal of garbage and for water and sewage systems, which are already deficient.

The rivers, of small extension, have a low capacity for self-purification in the face of sewage, so that the population density, requiring larger treatment structures, would carry the harmful disinfection by-products (trihalomethanes) to the beaches. The result: infected sand, a sea of ​​chloroform, socioeconomic ruin, fishing shortages. Agglomeration diseconomies also come from the increase in traffic on the narrow road. As Pope Francis pontificated in his encyclical “Laudato Si’ – On the Care of the Common Home”: “It is not convenient for the inhabitants of this planet to live increasingly submerged in cement, asphalt, glass and metals, deprived of physical contact with the nature”.

Land use and occupation laws must establish the right to build. They are under constant harassment, but the greatest pressure to loosen them is via the São Sebastião Master Plan (PD). It could be the great gate to “pass the cattle”, as the Minister of Environment would say. In the public hearings of the current and previous PDs, the tone of civil society has been the same: rejection of the increase in the height of buildings and the Coefficient of Utilization (CA).

The current project had its vote prevented by an injunction for not integrating the population’s proposals against the increase in the CA, which facilitates verticalization and the breaking of the current 9-meter gauge, the mainstay of environmental sustainability and local charm. On other occasions we warn about the verticalizing rage in the local, regional and in this leaf (“North coast can die on the beach”; “The Public Ministry and the north coast”; “Sea view”).

The relaxation of the law would have another disastrous purpose: a white amnesty for illegalities affected by the current land use legislation. In due course, I reproduce the quote I made (Environmental Sanitation magazine, No. 23) of the then Attorney General of the Republic Claudio Fonteles: “May the MP leave the cloister in which he found himself stuck, as another bureaucratic stratum of the State to… participate with non-governmental entities in the affirmation of values ​​compatible with a just and fraternal society… Guardian of collective rights, of democracy itself”.

However, in general astonishment, the Public Ministry itself rejected the aforementioned injunction, stating that “…the basic CA and verticalization of the properties… [a] competence to define and regulate… it is exclusive to the Legislative House”. Fortunately, the Court, in irrefutable contradiction, blocked the vote and, pointing out a vice of unconstitutionality, marked: “…the basic CA and the verticalization of real estate are not it deals with the legislative merit of which the City Council has sovereign power. Popular participation in the legislative process is rigorous, under the terms of article 180, item II, of the São Paulo Charter, which could only be exercised by direct democratic means and not by the representative ”.

That is to say, debate in public hearings is not mere democratic theater. Thankfully: otherwise, in the future, faced with the mephitic debris of what was a paradisiacal place, the names of mayors, councilors and whoever else, by omission/commission, guaranteed the catastrophe will be eternalized in history. However, on February 2, another magistrate annulled the injunction and, on May 25, 8 of the 11 councilors approved the Master Plan, which has already been sanctioned by Mayor Felipe Augusto (PSDB).

The Atlantic Forest was listed by Unesco as a biosphere reserve and declared a national heritage, as well as the Serra do Mar and the coastal zone: “… its use will be done in accordance with the law, under conditions that ensure the preservation of the environment… ( art. 225, § 4)”. The City Statute, the São Paulo Constitution, the decree that created the Serra do Mar State Park, the state resolution for the Registration of Serra do Mar, can also become a dead letter due to political/private collusion, the Forest Code, the National Environmental Policy and Law No. 7,347/85, on the Public Civil Action.

There remained the appeal to the São Paulo Court of Justice and, now, an Adin (Direct Unconstitutionality Action) so that the protection of environmental heritage and the urban order do not become just figures of rhetoric under the hulls of the herd.


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