There is still half a year left for submission of applications for legalisation of illegally constructed buildings before expiry of the deadline, and Srebrenka Golić, Minister of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republic of Srpska, in the interview with "Nezavisne novine", says it is time to draw the line, carry out the analysis and determine further courses of action.
The meeting with representatives of all local communities scheduled for today in Banja Luka will be held with reference to the very issue of implementation of the Act on Spatial Planning and Construction.
“I have to emphasise that we, in the Ministry, are not satisfied with the number of submitted applications for legalisation, because the number of submitted applications is simply negligible in comparison to the estimated number of illegally constructed buildings and this is one of the reasons for organising the meeting to which we have invited representatives of all local communities directly involved in the legalisation affairs”, says Minister Golić.
NN: What is the goal of this meeting?
GOLIĆ: Since these are very important issues referring to resolving permanent status of a number of illegally constructed buildings in Republic of Srpska, the investors of which are natural and legal entities, but also public enterprises and other institutions, our goal is to point out to the need for owners and investors of illegally constructed buildings to submit their applications for legalisation within the time they still have left, six months before the expiry of legally defined deadline for applications’ submission.
NN: How many illegally constructed buildings were there in Republic of Srpska?
GOLIĆ: According to the assessments from one research project implemented through the Municipalities and Cities Association, there were over 80,000 illegally constructed buildings in Republic of Srpska.
NN: How is the procedure of submission of applications for legalisation progressing?
GOLIĆ: So far, forty-one local communities have provided incomplete data, whereas twenty-two local communities haven’t provided any data at all. According to these data, there have been about 5,150 applications submitted upon effective date of the Act, out of which 60 per cent has been resolved. An application for legalisation submitted prior to this is considered as an application submitted within the terms of this Act, and it will be resolved under the provisions of the regulation more favourable for the investor.
NN: Will the deadline for legalisation be extended?
GOLIĆ: Owners of illegally constructed buildings are entitled to submit their applications for legalisation within two years from the effective date of the Act, which practically means up to 24th May 2015. The entities who fail to submit their applications for legalisation within this provided time shall not be entitled to subsequent legalisation.
I would remind all that according to the terms of the current Act, legalisation of illegally constructed buildings, the construction of which has been started upon the effective date of the Act, is not possible, and the authorised inspection is obliged to carry out the procedure of their compulsory removal, which leaves neither reason or need for the deadline to be additionally extended.
NN: Upon expiry of the deadline, what will happen to those buildings the owners of which did not start the procedure of legalisation?
GOLIĆ: We are inclined to believe that legally defined deadline will be adhered to, that is, that constructors of illegal buildings will submit applications for legalisation of their buildings, even more so because the Act anticipated, as already mentioned, numerous benefits in both administrative and financial aspects.
NN: And what will happen to those that cannot be legalised due to the fact that they were built on the locations where construction has been banned?
GOLIĆ: Disastrous floods that struck Republic of Srpska this year have put the problem of illegal construction into the spotlight. Illegal construction on an inadequate terrain, instable and the terrain exposed to landslides or floods, in water intakes and under the influence of the weather conditions we had in May and August this year, has shown to which extent has illegal construction devastated the area and how destructive this phenomenon has been for a society. These buildings will not be eligible for legalisation also due to our obligation to prevent further devastation of the area. Parallel to activities referring to legalisation of buildings, the activities on developing indicators on the spatial planning documents status at the level of local communities are also being implemented, which is a significant element affecting illegal construction.
Due to lack of planning documents for implementation, a significant number of buildings has been built without the building permit, because there was no planning foundation for its issuance, and on the other hand, legalisation and urban planning procedures for spatial incorporation of illegally constructed buildings will not be possible until such time when planning documents for implementation have been produced which will define the possible status of the building, and these are permanently legalised buildings, buildings that can be temporarily kept until bringing the land to its intended use or demolition of the building, when necessary. Thus, legalisation of these buildings shall also depend on the planning documents for implementation.
NN: Does this imply that they will be demolished?
GOLIĆ: It is certain that complete incorporation cannot be implemented without radical measures that mean demolition of one part of the buildings the legalisation of which is not possible, because these cannot be incorporated in the planning documentation on realistic foundations and planning principles, and apart from this, they have been unsafe for residing or performing business activities within them.
DEJAN TOVILOVIĆ – 3rd December 2014