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Environment Ministry aims to create more flexible rules for building activity

Greece’s zoning laws are to be made much more flexible, according to draft legislation prepared by the Environment Ministry and put to public consultation on Thursday.

The most significant change is that the national zoning plan is being scrapped and replaced with a description of general policy regarding what kind of activities are permitted. The legislation also makes reference to the fact that zoning can be regulated in accordance to the needs generated by “the medium-term fiscal plan, the public investment program and specific or general national or regional programs.”

Under the would-be law “strategic zoning plans” can be drawn up regarding particular activities and areas. The schemes would have a five-year duration but their stipulations could be amended by just a ministerial decision if the projects involved are deemed to be of national interest or part of European Union-funded programs. This provision, however, appears to run counter to the idea of zoning as it creates a much more fluid situation, which could lead to two seemingly incongruent types of developments – such as industry and tourism – finding themselves bordering each other.

The bill also foresees the scrapping of all urban regulatory plans apart from the one for Athens and allows restrictions on residential building to be lifted if it is “deemed necessary to cover housing needs.”

ekathimerini.com , Thursday May 8, 2014 (20:06)  
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