Tel Aviv-UNESCO clash over redevelopment plan

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar: The plan is liable to harm Israel's commitments to UNESCO to preserve Tel Aviv's White City as a world heritage site.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that UNESCO and Israel's Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar are joining developers and property owners against the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality's plans for redeveloping Quarters 3 and 4 in central and north Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv city engineer Oded Gvuli has also filed objections to the plan.

In a letter to the Tel Aviv Regional Planning and Building Commission, Sa'ar, who serves as president of UNESCO Israel, says UNESCO Israel opposes the current development because "it is liable to harm Israel's commitments to UNESCO to preserve Tel Aviv's White City as a world heritage site."

The UNESCO document states that, the implementation of the changes that the Tel Aviv Municipality wishes to make in its plan for the quarters is liable to damage the values protected by the declaration of Tel Aviv's White City as a world heritage site. "This concern is heightened in view of the lack of a statutory interface in the plan, which the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality promised as part of the declaration in 2003," says UNESCO. It adds, "So long as there is no statutory interface plan to preserve the character and fabric of the area of the declaration, we hereby express our opposition to the plan for the quarters."

In his objection, Gvuli says that the new rights in the plan are subject to approval by UNESCO, approval which is not forthcoming.

The plan for urban renewal and the retrofitting of buildings in north Tel Aviv under National Outline Plan 38 for earthquake preparedness involves two plans for the old north of the city (south of the Yarkon River), and bisected by Ibn Gvirol Street. The new plan will supersede the current plans for the area, and is supposed to simplify information and licensing procedures for adding floors to buildings under National Outline Plan 38 and urban renewal in general.

More than 100 objections have been filed against the plan, including by Association of Companies of National Outline Plan 38 at the Tel Aviv Chambers of Commerce, which says that the plan actually makes it almost impossible to implement the outline plan in the city.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 10, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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