NEWS

A Myconos building freeze

Unrestricted construction on the Cycladic island of Mykonos has spiraled completely out of control, according to Public Works Ministry Secretary-General Stavros Kabelis, commenting on this week’s ministry decision to freeze all building permit applications on the island for at least two months, until the signing of a presidential decree on building outside zoned areas. «Town plans are important and useful,» said Dimitris Boudouris, head architect at the Cyclades town planning authority. «But in this case it is too late. The island has already been built over from one end to the other.» According to the ministry, applications for new building permits have been mounting in view of the decree, currently being processed by the Council of State and expected to be returned to the ministry in about two weeks. If all goes well, it will be published within the next two months. Until then, no permits will be issued. «Since the early 1980s there has been great interest in building on the island. But every time the newspapers report imminent changes, our telephones start ringing,» said Boudouris. Ministry sources say infringements of the existing building regulations will be dealt with by teams being set up to enforce the law, something which has not always been done because of the status of some of the property owners and the influence they have been able to exert. «Registration and inspection of these properties has not always been systematic,» said Kabelis, «because the town planning authority is on the island of Syros. New teams, set up by the ministry and the Cyclades prefectural government, will start inspections within the fortnight.