Myconos to be cleaned up of illegal constructions

Authorities will soon begin planning the demolition of illegally built homes on the popular Aegean island of Myconos following the use of satellite photographs to identify properties that have been constructed in violation of building regulations, Kathimerini understands.

State officials are said to have drawn up a list of homes for demolition after comparing recent satellite images with older photographs, revealing new buildings and extensions. The focus is on construction that has been carried out since last July which was the deadline for owners of illegally built homes to pay a fee to exempt their properties from demolition. According to a law passed last summer, owners of homes built illegally before July 2011 pay a fine depending on the size of the property, real estate values set by the tax offices and the type of offense. In return for the fine, homeowners can rest assured that their properties will not be bulldozed for 30 years.

After an initial surge of interest, the rate of homeowners seeking to pay the amnesty has fallen in recent months.

According to the Environment Ministry, between 500 and 700 applications are being submitted daily by owners of illegal homes, as compared to between 3,500 and 4,000 applications per day in February. Notwithstanding an extension, the deadline for applications is June 30. Ministry figures show that 327,684 applications had been submitted by May 6.

Environment Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said on Friday that satellite photography had been a great help in locating illegal buildings on Myconos, where luxury holiday homes have mushroomed in recent years.

?Over the past few months we have succeeded in creating a very sturdy and reliable framework for tackling illegal construction,? Papaconstantinou said. ?The days when the law could be interpreted any way contractors and construction companies wanted are over,? he said.