Towns at mercy of developers

A new law that critics say was made-to-order for real estate developers will allow the latter to choose which version of a city’s master plan they will abide by – the current version, or the one that was valid when they first applied for a construction permit.

(Source: ČTK)

A new law that critics say was made-to-order for real estate developers will allow the latter to choose which version of a city’s master plan they will abide by – the current version, or the one that was valid when they first applied for a construction permit.

Parliament on May 22 approved a bill submitted by MPs for the ruling Smer party that its backers said would protect developers from losses in the event a town decided to reclassify an industrial area, for example, as a recreational zone. But the Union of Towns of Slovakia said that the new rules give a green light to developers to carry out their plans regardless of the impact on the lives of local inhabitants and on the environment.

“It’s an effort to limit the sovereignty of elected representatives of towns and villages, and to ignore the interests of the citizens of the territory concerned,” said Štefan Bošnák, president of the Union of Slovak Towns.

Among others, the law will benefit the owners of a proposed garbage dump near the town of Pezinok that the town is now trying to prevent from being built. The developers behind the dump are close to the Smer party; the project is being strongly opposed by civic groups (see protester, above).

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