Start memorizing the name "IKEA Eshtaol" The Jerusalem District Appeals Committee has decided to approve the opening of the fifth IKEA store in Israel at Moshav Eshtaol, next to Beit Shemesh, despite contraventions of planning laws.
"Continued closure of the store, when the goods are already on the shelves, means a harsh sentence on hundreds of families whose chances of finding work in the current state of the economy are zero," the committee states in its decision to grant retrospective permits for illegal construction at the site.
The committee also found that the planning that gave rise to the illegal construction was actually better than the original plan, and that the permits issued by the local planning committee were legal.
The original structure of the IKEA branch at Eshtaol, which has 17,000 square meters of space, was mostly completed by late last year. A few months ago, the local planning committee approved a change in the internal division of the building and the construction of 8,600 square meters of logistical and storage space, in return for lower construction density on an adjacent plot, such that the overall building rights were not increased.
The developer, Eshtaol Commercial and Industrial Park Ltd., did not wait for permits to be issued, and carried out the work immediately. The district planner filed an appeal against the local committee's decision, but as mentioned the appeals committee eventually found that it decision was legal, and that, applying the "empty plot test", the new layout was better than the original plan.
At a hearing of the appeals committee In February, IKEA workers committee chairman Idan Maoz spoke of the anxieties of the 300 workers who were due to be employed by the store, in the light of the coronavirus crisis, a consideration that the committee duly took into account.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 18, 2020
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