Israel Land Authority (ILA) is asking that authority for the huge Glilot site plan be taken away from the Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission, headed by Daniella Posek, and given to the National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas for rapid promotion.
This unusual request, signed by ILA Tel Aviv district planner Gili Tessler, was sent to the Israel Planning Administration, headed by director general Dalit Zilber. If the request is accepted, progress in the plan will be rapid, with fewer chances for its opponents to affect it, in contrast to the process currently taking place.
21 objections to the plan
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Glilot site plan for residential construction in central Israel in the coming years. The land, which belongs to Ramat Hasharon and Tel Aviv, is bordered by the Ayalon Highway, the coastal highway, and Road 5 on the north. The Mazor - First Architects and City Planners firm, which is responsible for the plan, is proposing the construction of a residential and business neighborhood with 9,800 housing units, 700,000 square meters of business and commercial space, public buildings, and a particularly large transportation center. The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission has been discussing the plan for 22 years. It appeared that the plan was making faster progress in 2018, when it was deposited for objections. Following a hearing in the committee at which 21 objections to the plan were filed, ILA was asked to revise it.
The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission published another decision last month, in which it said that ILA had not made the necessary revisions, and gave ILA an extension until April 2020 to make the revisions. ILA has other ideas.
Last Thursday, ILA asked the Planning Administration to make the Glilot site a priority housing area, so that the National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas could take responsibility for it. ILA's request concerns only part of the land, which will reduce the number of housing units planned to 6,670. All of the land in ILA's request belongs to Ramat Hasharon.
"An important nature site"
In response to ILA's extraordinary request, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel environmental protection department director Nir Papay sent a letter to Zilber expressing concern that an attempt was being made to avoid dealing with the defects in the plan. "ILA's request arouses grave concern that an underhanded effort is being made to bypass the District Planning and Building Commission and evade the need to revise the plan according to its decisions, without any reason and in clear lack of good faith."
Papay's letter continues, "This request is liable to set a dubious precedent that will weaken the standing of the various building and planning commissions, and will create uncertainty about the validity of their decisions. It is unacceptable for ILA to cynically use the National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas mechanism as backdoor or a way of evading the District Planning and Building Commission's decisions and the revisions it has ordered."
Adv. Yoav Kremer, who represents a Facebook group called "Guardians of Our Drezner Grove and Afeka Caves," told "Globes," "This area is the most important nature site in metropolitan Tel Aviv. There is a huge community involved in it. After listening to us with great attention, the District Planning and Building Commission added planning comments that significantly improved the plan, without detracting from the volume of construction. Our concern is that the request to the National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas is designed to bypass the District Planning and Building Commission."
ILA said in response, "Simultaneously with promotion and approval in the District Planning and Building Commission, ILA is also considering with the relevant agencies the option of filing a detailed continuation plan at the National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas for part of the land. When decisions are made, they will be brought before the authorized agencies for approval."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 15, 2020
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