Institution are giving advantage to the private and not the public interest – Zoning plan of a special purpose area “Ada”

12.8.2016 - Banja Luka

On the 14th of April 2016, the National Assembly of Republic of Srpska adopted by a summary procedure the concerning the decision to make a zoning plan for a special purpose area “Ada.” The assembly confirmed the suggestion of the government that the approach to this project to construct a private tourist-catering complex should be considered as a public interest. The adoption of decisions by a summary procedure avoided the legal obligations and avoided the procedure of the participation of public while passing this document.

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According to the Law on Spatial Planning and Construction of RS, a zoning plan of a special purpose can be done by summary proceedings only in cases when it comes to immediate care of the population of a devastated area, a flooded area, or areas affected by natural disasters. Based on the decision of the National Assembly of Republic of Srpska, it can now be used in regards to building complex infrastructure, industrial infrastructure, or similar facilities.

“It is clear that the Law on Spatial Planning and Construction in this case were not adequately applied. The adoption of the decision on making a Zoning Plan for the special purpose “Ada” in a shortened procedure institutions are consciously giving priority to the interests of investors rather than to the interest of the public whose participation was almost completely avoided," said Viktor Bjelić from the Center for Environment.

In the regular procedure of a zoning plan, as well as any other spatial plan, there is a requirement for the development of a strategic assessment of the environment. This assessment estimates how the eventual realization of this plan will affect the environment. In this document, the natural values and the impacts of the planned interventions and activities will be listed so that the public and civil society can give their opinion and recommendations thereby lowering the potential consequences.

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“Investors put this in the works even though the procedures of the Zoning Plan were not yet completed. The plan has not yet been adopted. In this way, procedures were violated. This led to the destruction of habitats for many of the plant and animal species for which this area is registered as a natural value in many of the planning documents," Bjelić highlights.

Preliminary work as defined by the Water Guidelines issued by the public institution “The waters of the Republic of Srpska” includes mean terrain clearance, removal of garbage, removal of rotten and downed vegetation, the removal of gravel and sediment from the Vrbas riverbed, and the formation of a slope coast. However, after examining the field, we found that works differ substantially from those defined in the Water Guidelines. The construction work that started, as seen in the photographs, includes a collection building materials and concrete. For this, they require a building permit.

Activity monitoring and public participation in decision-making is supported through the Transition ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

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