The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Commission, headed by Adv. Amir Shaked, has decided to approve for deposit a plan for construction of a residential project on a 4.1-dunam (1.025-acre) site in the Beit Hakerem neighborhood in Jerusalem. The site, located between Rachel Hameshoreret Street and Ish Shalom Street, formerly housed an Israel Electric Corporation station. The land is the last large reserve for development in the neighborhood.
The plan, which was promoted by the Israel Land Administration and designed by architect Ayala Ronel, proposes the construction of two 14-storey buildings with 100 housing units, an open public space, and an underground public parking lot with 50 parking spaces.
The outline plan for Beit Hakerem, which seeks to preserve the neighborhood's character, sets a maximum of 12 storeys for construction in the neighborhood. The District Planning and Building Commission, however, which wants to maximize use of the land in the area, deviated from this stipulation. The explanation given asserts that the lot is larger than 2.5 dunam (0.625 acres), and that on the Arazim site (a large urban renewal project) slated for construction nearby, buildings of 16 and 18 storeys are planned.
The plan is arousing opposition among the residents. Beit Hakerem Community Center chair Noga Levtzion Nadan told "Globes" today that the plan for two towers was "irrelevant," and that "it is a trick that we didn't even know about, after the architect refused even to come to the community center and present the plan. The public was not informed here."
Beit Hakerem community administration chair Danny Tauber also criticized the procedure for promoting the plan. "The same area is the subject of two different and simultaneous hearings that contradict each other. The plan called 16,000 is an outline plan for the neighborhood that takes care to create 'neighborhood balances.' It states that the area will be a parking lot. This plan (the two-tower plan, G.N.) says that residential construction will take place there. The same committee discussed both things simultaneously. There can be no scandal greater than this," he declared.
"Globes": But the plan also has a parking lot. What is the problem?
Tauber: "The size won't serve the neighborhood. The planned construction site is at the beginning of Rachel Hameshoreret Street, which creates a very big problem for parking in the neighborhood. It's one big headache. That's why there was agreement that the site would be a solution for the street and the neighborhood. During the hearing about parking, the District Planning and Building Commission brought up the idea of residential construction."
What will you do?
"We'll oppose it. Our message is that you can't talk with us simultaneously in two different directions. We expected that there would first be a decision about the outline plan for the neighborhood. If the District Planning and Building Commission thinks that there doesn't have to be a parking lot there, they should have told us. We won't agree to such a dialogue between us and the state."
The District Planning and Building Commission said in response, "The site contains over one acre. There is no planning justification for converting a site of this size into a parking site - certainly not in Jerusalem, where there is a huge housing shortage. Furthermore, the construction will be on a main traffic artery, and the light railway station is 200 meters away."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 16, 2019
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