The huge Sde Dov neighborhood plan on the so-called "large lot" in north Tel Aviv, which includes the recently closed-down Sde Dov Airport, is nearing the finishing line. The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission is scheduled today to discuss the objections filed against the deposited plan. "Globes" has discovered that 37 objections were filed against the plan in its current form. The plan, which contains 16,000 housing units, including several thousand affordable housing units; 3,700 hotel rooms; and extensive commercial and business space, was deposited a few months ago. 500 dunam (125 acres) of the land belongs to private individuals.
Triple the density in Ramat Aviv Gimmel
The most detailed objection was filed by neighbors of the proposed plan: residents of the Lamed neighborhood, Nofei Yam (the built-up part of the so-called large lot), Kokhav HaTzafon, and new Ramat Aviv. The neighbors are represented by Adv. Noam Kolodny. The objecting neighbors filed an opinion supporting their objection written by a professional team that included former Zmora Local Planning and Building Commission engineer, architect and urban planner Noa Auerbach Even and architect and environmental consultant Dr. Avigail Dolev.
The opinion stated, "The program under which 16,000 housing units, 3,700 hotel rooms, and hundreds of thousands of square meters of commercial and business space was not brought for public discussion at the relevant stage, despite its material effect on all those in the area bordering the plan, and the city's residents in general; it was portrayed as an agreed alternative."
Another part of the opinion criticizes the plan as being the plan with the densest construction being discussed in Israel, and for being promoted by the Israel Land Authority (ILA) and the Ministry of Finance acting simultaneously as developers and a statutory authority with status in the planning institutions. "The Sde Dov outline plan is nothing but a plan being promoted by powerful market forces determining the zoning of the land, the construction rights, and the character of construction as both the developer for all intents and purposes and as a statutory authority with voting rights and/or status in the planning institutions," the objection states. The opponents say that one of the results of the state's control over the plan is that the outline plan for entire area and the detailed plan for part of it are being promoted simultaneously. They assert that the planning principles should determine the outline plan, and the detailed plan should be promoted only afterwards. They also claim that the plan does not show what they call "planning manners," and does not take the surrounding neighborhoods into account at all.
"The procedure of depositing a detailed plan with the National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas runs counter to a reasonable planning proceeding according to the accepted planning hierarchy. It puts the cart before the horse. It will render the discussion in the District Planning and Building Commission superfluous and purely theoretical," Kolodny explains.
Another objection raised in the opinion is that although the plan purports to include 16,000 housing units, it actually can actually be used to build 17,600 housing units because of certain concessions that the developers will request. This is liable to bring the density to 46 housing units per dunam (184 housing units per acre). The objecting residents assert that the density in Ramat Aviv Gimmel averages 12 housing units per dunam (48 housing units per acre). If the commercial, business, and tourist hosting areas and public buildings are added, density will be even higher. "The density in the proposed plan deviates in scope from any plan approved in Israel to date," the opinion states.
Hope for renewing flights at Sde Dov
Another significant objection was filed by Arkia Airlines, which announced shortly after Sde Dov Airport closed down that it might have to lay off employees. Judging by its objection, the company has not given up using the airport. Arkia says that discontinuation of the airport's operations was "to a large extent a result of political circumstances, including the dissolution of the Knesset and the announcement of new elections. Under these circumstances, it is next to impossible to promote legislation for continuing aviation activity at Sde Dov. It should, however, be kept in mind that the discontinuation of flights is reversible, and the renewal of aviation activity is definitely a practical step."
In its objection, Arkia emphasizes that in this context, the District Planning and Building Commission is not a legislative body. "The Commission is not entitled to take political considerations into account, including considerations concerning the placing of alleged barriers and difficulties in the way of a future legislative process," the objection argues. Arkia is apparently pinning its hopes on the renewal of aviation at Sde Dov Airport after a new Knesset takes office. The object filed by the city of the Eilat municipality, which strongly opposed the closing down of Sde Dov Airport, makes a similar argument. The Eilat municipality is demanding discussion of alternatives to the building plan for the site that accommodate operation of the airport and a substantial scaling back of the construction plan.
The list of those filing objections includes ILA, one of the agencies that initiated the plan. Why is ILA seeking to change the plan? It is purely a question of money from the fees that the developers will be charged. ILA's objection states that it wants to change the existing tax assessment principles in the plan. In its objection, ILA says that the assessment principles should be adapted to the Attorney General's instructions. The assessment question was also mentioned by owners of land on the site who object to the plan. Several of them assert that they are being discriminated against in the proceeds they are to receive according to the current plan. To this should be added an objection filed by the managers of the so-called large lot because of their appraisal dispute with the Tel Aviv municipality concerning the appraisal calculations for a specific section from which 45 dunam (11.25 acres) was subtracted, appraised at NIS 320 million.
Requirement for unpopular public buildings
The Tel Aviv municipality, another of the agencies that initiated the plan, also objects to the deposited plan. As reported by "Globes," the Tel Aviv municipality wants to set aside tens of dunam of land for a helicopter pad. NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System, which is constructing the Greater Tel Aviv light rail, has also filed an objection to the plan because it contains the continuation of the Green Line, one of the light railway lines, and the company wants to adapt the plan to the planned line. Israel Electric Corporation filed its own objection because of a lack of coordination between the deposited plan and the plan for construction of electricity production in the Reading power plant. Still another objection was filed by the Government Housing Authority, which wants four dunam (one acre) allocated for 5,000 square meters of space for NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) purposes, such as institutions of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services, centers for treatment of addiction, emergency stations, etc.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 2, 2019
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