After 11 argumentative meetings, the National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas yesterday approved the first of two plans for the for the IDF Sirkin base for objections. The plan is located in eastern Petah Tikva, close to the Amishav neighborhood, on a site currently used as the Sirkin army camp, which is scheduled to be vacated. 8,000 housing units will be constructed under the plan. Many objections have been made to the plan, with pointed disputes between the experts.
The plan zones 2,500 dunam (625 acres) for construction of 3-25-storey buildings. 2,200 dunam (550 acres) will be allocated for small apartments and 600 special housing units. The plan also includes 300,000 square meters of commercial and business space along the commercial facades and two commercial zones in the north and south of the plan.
Serious transportation problems
Most of the criticism concerns transportation. Opponents of the plan warn that it provides no solution for the currently inadequate transportation from the east, especially from Rosh HaAyin to east-west Highways 5, 471, and 483. This makes it very difficult for residents of Petah Tikva and communities east of it to reach Tel Aviv. Israel Land Authority (ILA) and the Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas assert that they had conducted a comprehensive transportation survey that examined all of the development expected in the area up until 2040 and the resulting transportation needs. After completely mapping the transportation needs, the transportation projects needed in the area were outlined and coordinated with the agencies responsible for promoting and ensuring budgeting for them.
The plan includes two new roads in the area connecting the residential neighborhood to national roads, the old city, and the new railway station to be built near Elad. It also has an option for a future metro line on the main street in the neighborhood. Planning was closely coordinated with the Petah Tikva municipality. It was agreed that Highway 40 running west of the neighborhood would become a local street and a new national road bypassing it would be built, which is alleged to provide an appropriate transportation solution.
Members of the organization for reasonable planning, which opposes the plan, believe otherwise. They say that there is no assurance that the metro will pass through the area, and that it very likely will not happen. They say that the mention of the light rail is also all talk and no action. Moshe Fisher, the organization's chairperson, said that the plan contained serious transportation deficiencies. "People come to warn that they have no road out of the eastern part of the city. There is no timetable for the light railway, and the question of a metro is not being seriously addressed. A serious coherent plan is needed," he complained.
Petah Tikva mayor: Serious and important exits will be built
Adv. Amnon Dardik, a member of the organization, described the plan as "very dubious. The metro does not appear at all in the program, despite all of the talk and promises. A precise transportation plan must be added to the urban building plan. We're asking the Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas to act responsibly."
Petah Tikva Mayor Rami Greenberg, on the other hand, supports the plan. He said, "After the discussion, we can say that the plan provides a very comprehensive transportation solution at the municipality's demand. For each project, there is a manager and a budget at the planning and implementation level. Transportation solutions include the heavy railway, another train in the northeast at Kesem Junction, and another railway station on the southern part of Highway 471. There is also mention of the light railway Red Line, which will be connected to the neighborhood through a transportation solution that will arrange the passageway there. Highway 40, which will be lowered, and the road bypassing it will extend to Yarkoni Junction and Yarkon Junction.
"They will also build serious and important northern exits from the neighborhood on Rosh HaAyin Highway, a large and serious eastern exit over Highway 6, and another southward transportation solution from above Amishav Interchange, which will be connected to the railway station to be built there - an Amishav bypass road."
"The plan also takes public transportation terminals into account. Solutions for public transportation lanes and acoustic solutions on the Highway 40 bypass road along Ovadia Yosef street for resident living there were presented in the plan.
"The entire plan is scheduled to be completed by 2035. In talks with the Ministry of Transport, it was agreed that the Metro would be built by 2030."
Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas chairperson Ariel Yotzer: A huge step
Adiel Shimron, the director of ILA, which initiated the plan, said in response, "ILA is constantly increasing marketing of land for housing for people in Israel. Among other things, ILA is strongly promoting planning and marketing of land made available by the IDF move to the Negev. ILA is also promoting financing for moving IDF camps to the south according to milestones established by ILA and the Ministry of Defense."
Yotzer called the depositing of the plan for objections "a huge step in the removal of IDF camps from the heart of the high-demand area. The plan was brought up for discussion following thorough staff work by the Ministry of Defense and ILA, together with many agencies, and in full cooperation with Petah Tikva, which made preparations for mapping the infrastructure challenges obstructing the city's development and devising solutions for them, so that a high-quality residential neighborhood can be built in Petah Tikva in metropolitan Tel Aviv."
In view of the great controversy concerning the plan, large numbers of objections to the plan will be filed, now that it has been deposited.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 7, 2019
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