City of Athens to crack down on illegal use of public space

Athens municipal police will be intensifying inspections on cafes, kiosks and other businesses that use public sidewalks and squares for seating or to display their wares, following a crackdown in the popular central district of Gazi last week.

According to City of Athens data, 3,135 lawsuits were filed in 2012 against businesses for being in breach of zoning regulations with 42.2 percent of the suits relating to the illegal use of public space.

Businesses can pay municipal authorities rent for the use of public sidewalks or squares, but need to abide by the exact area stipulated in their lease. In 2012, the City of Athens

collected 3.7 million euros in rent from cafes, bars, kiosks and other businesses. Businesses found using more space than they’ve paid for face a fine of 200 percent of the initial charge.