Amid growing opposition to the construction of 10-story buildings around the Acropolis hill in Athens, the Hellenic Society of Environment and Culture, the Friends of Athens Society and 11 residents have appealed to the country’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, challenging a decision by Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba in October 2018 to approve the erection of yet another on Misaraliotou Street.
On Monday, the Culture and Environment ministries announced that the case will be re-examined. But residents remain unconvinced, insisting that the October decision was “wrong and illegal,” and are calling for a suspension of works until the Council of State issues a verdict.
The appeal, submitted on Thursday, also takes issue with the existing legal framework and its subsequent amendments over the last four decades that apply in the Makrygianni neighborhood on the southern side of the Acropolis.
The current legal framework, residents say, further burdens an already overtaxed area and it is “unacceptable” that tall buildings are allowed to spoil the view of the Acropolis.
Meanwhile, the petition on the Avaaz online platform had collected 13,000 signatures by on Thursday, up from 4,000 on Monday.
The issue of high-rises around the Acropolis rose to prominence late last year when residents noticed that an under-construction building on Falirou Street was much taller than all the others in the area.
Architect Irini Frezadou, who spearheaded the residents’ protest, told Kathimerini earlier in the week that while the Falirou Street building is legal according to new zoning laws that offer additional height in exchange for “green” architecture, the project was not put forward for approval at the Central Archaeological Council – which is responsible for assessing all initiatives that affect the country’s archaeological and historical monuments.