NEWS

The measures in brief

Connection to power and water supply networks, a reduction in fines on illegal buildings, changes in procedures for issuing building permits – both within and outside city limits – are addressed in the government’s package of planning measures. 1. Illegal buildings. Hookups to electricity, water supply and sewage systems will be allowed for buildings that: – Regardless of location, are the owner’s main residence and are up to 120 square meters in size (for each additional family member over 4, there will an extra allowance of 30 square meters). – Lie within the city plans or a settlement dating to before 1923 that has fewer than 2,000 inhabitants or within a general, approved planning scheme. It should be noted that: – Connection to state utilities does not entail legalization. – Electricity and water will be supplied only for three years and will be severed by the utility. To maintain supply, a new certificate from a planning department would have to be furnished stating that «buildings have not undergone further illegal expansion.» – Owners will continue to pay fines on the illegal building. – Full legalization will come about only with the expansion of town plans to include the illegal building. – The bill makes no changes in the case of minor construction illegalities such as infractions of the building coefficient, changes in the use of semi-open areas, etc. – The documents required for connection to public utilities will be published in an YPEHODE circular. Applications can be submitted after publication of the law in the Government Gazette. 2. Fines. Outstanding fines on illegal buildings owned by ethnic Greeks from abroad or that constitute the owner’s chief residence (up to 120 square meters) are to be drastically reduced. Surcharges (interest) imposed by the Finance Ministry will be abolished. The two categories – returning ethnic Greeks and owners of illegal buildings whose main residence it is – will have 80 percent of their fines, for erection of and maintaining an illegal building – written off. Payment can be made over 36 months or in a lump sum with an additional 30 percent discount. (This means a 20,000-euro fine of which 4,000 euros is a surcharge will thus be reduced to 3,200 euros, or 2,240 euros if paid off in a lump sum.) – Fines on maintaining an illegal building will be reduced by 50 percent (for first-time home buyers and returning ethnic Greeks.) Surcharges will not be levied. – Fines for other categories remain as is, with the possibility of paying off the fine in 36 months or in a lump sum with a 30 percent discount. – Fines on new illegal buildings will be steeper, and will vary according to size, type of construction and land values in the specific area. Penalties for building in sensitive ecological areas will be two years’ imprisonment and a 10,000-100,000 euro fine. – Civil engineers and local authorities found to be involved or to have turned a blind eye will be fined or have monies withheld from their budget respectively. 3. Outside town limits. Building is allowed on plots of land of 4,000 square meters and over and with a facade on a public road at least 25 meters long. – The creation of plots of land that do not face a public road via partition of existing land holdings will not be allowed in the future. – Currently existing land plots not facing a public road will be issued building permits as normal. – Current deviations are not affected. – Only two floors are allowed, with a maximum height of 4.5 meters for one-story and 7 meters for two-story buildings. The level and gradient of both natural and shaped ground will be taken into account when calculating story height. – Basements, where they exist, are forbidden from protruding more than 80 centimeters above ground level (whether natural or shaped). – In areas with a gradient of over 20 percent, basements 20 percent larger than permitted will not be regarded as extra construction. – Implementation of the planning regulations is not retroactive. Permits issued or submitted for approval with older building coefficients or land use will be executed as normal. A transitional period lasting up to five years is provided for an area undergoing changes in land use and building terms.