Archive for the ‘coastline’ Category

Interview with Ibiza’s head of Regional Planning

May 5th, 2009

“The coasts must be better protected.”

The specialised area of regional planning that Miquel Ramón heads is, without a doubt, one of the most complex on Ibiza‘s Island Council. Sr. Ramón, born in 1953 in Jesus, is a member of the left-leaning Esquerra Unida party. As such he must work to reach consensus with the municipalities in balancing economic and environmental interests. This is not always easy. He says, “Considering land utilisation and the construction industry, there have been a large number of sins that have been committed in the recent past.”

However, he does realise that he cannot turn back the hands of time. Sr. Ramón hopes to set a new course for more moderate growth on the island with a reworked land-use plan for Ibiza (Plan Territorial de Ibiza, or PTI) that should be passed by the legislators later this year.

IbizaNOW: Whether at a local, regional or countrywide level, the portfolios for regional planning and land use have played a key role in politics over the past decades. In many town halls the mayors personally administer these specialised areas. How do you explain this development?

Miquel Ramón

Miquel Ramón: In all of Spain, but especially along the Mediterranean, we have been forced to watch excessive building activity over the past few years. In the first place much was built out of speculation and not in order to satisfy a real demand for living space. The bill for these heedless policies has just recently come due. In an extensive report released at the end of March the EU parliament in Strasbourg recently decided to sanction the settlement and construction policies of many Spanish regions. They even threatened as a last consequence to suspend subsidies.

IbizaNOW: That begs the question as to whether or not the powers municipalities have with regard to land-use planning go too far. Ultimately the issuance of building permits provides them with a wonderful source of income.

Miquel Ramón: Many municipalities finance themselves primarily with the receipts from the issuance of building permits and the related taxes and dues for such. As a result the construction boom allowed for large increases in local budgets. This is a dangerous development. I believe that we have to forge new paths for municipal financing.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

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The redrawing of Ibiza and Formentera’s coastline

February 2nd, 2009

ibizaBuilt too close to the sea

For the first time since 1969, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment is quietly redrawing the coastline, including that of Ibiza and Formentera

Imagine the following situation: years ago, you built a house near the sea on Ibiza or Formentera – legally, of course, and with the necessary planning permission. And now, the Madrid authorities get in touch to inform you that “Your house is located on the coastline and therefore not legal any more!” You face either having your property torn down or forcibly repossessed at any given time. “That’s impossible,” you’re probably thinking – but you’re wrong. Because in 2004, the Ministry of the Environment in Madrid referred back to a law from 1988 known as the coastal law, or Ley de Costas.

The law was designed to protect coastal areas from rampant over-construction and at the same time make every inch of beach easily accessible to the general public. However, the first sections of the coast to which this law has been applied, which includes Formentera, have been inaccurately measured. Now, Madrid is threatening homeowners with eviction, transforming them into concessionaires in their own homes. Those owners are now grouping together to oppose the law.

formentera
Built back in 1982 after planning permission was granted: now, according to a law from 1988, the Real Playa restaurant on Migjorn beach is set to become state property. Maria Jose Mayans has been battling for years to save her family’s livelihood

When you ask Nordhild Kohler whether she still feels like the owner of her house, Casa Sargantana, on Formentera’s romantically unspoilt Migjorn beach, she pauses for a moment. Although the question appears to be a simple one, she finds it difficult to answer. “Yes, of course, but according to the law, I’m no longer the owner.” And she’s probably right.

You can read the full article about the redrawing of Ibiza and Formentera’s coastline here: Built too close to the Sea

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