System for identifying and demolishing all new arbitrary buildings

Aspasia Athinaiou
January 11, 2024

Table of Contents

The urban planning reform, which was presented (9/1) by the Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr.Theo Skylakakis, at the first Council of Ministers for 2024, is based on three main pillars. In the near future it will be reflected in a draft law, which will be subject to public consultation and its adoption will be initiated.

In particular, on the three pillars of urban planning reform:

  1. Tackling arbitrary building

A comprehensive reform is being promoted to finally end the phenomenon of new, arbitrary building, with fundamental changes in the institutions and tools for the control and demolition of new arbitrary buildings. In this context:

  • A clear scope of competence is defined for each public service involved in arbitrary building (Inspectors, Land Service, Port Authority, Forestry, etc.).
  • A full monitoring system of the built environment is established, a procedure for the detection and recording of unauthorised construction using modern technological means (satellites, drones, artificial intelligence, etc.), an interface between the system and the electronic licensing system (e-Adeies), and a platform for complaints.
  • The process of autopsies by mixed teams of the competent services is described, following the model of Mykonos last summer.
  • The method, financing and transfer of responsibilities for demolitions from the Decentralized Administrations,to the Central Administration is defined.
  • All new, unauthorized constructions are demolished as a priority and additional demolitions are carried out annually, corresponding to older arbitrary buildings, for which there are final demolition protocols, with urban planning and environmental criteria, in a number corresponding at least to the demolition protocols finalized in 2023.
  • The penalties and fines for those who construct arbitrary structures are increased.

  1. “Konstantinos Doxiadis” programme

The lack of defined land use and the inability to implement useful urban planning measures – incentives create multiple problems for the environment, non-rational organization of space and phenomena such as anarchic – arbitrary building and excessive urban sprawl in rural areas.

These have secondary side-effects, for example the lack of basic technical and environmental infrastructure and unfair competition from illegal building activities against legal ones.

In order to address these issues, the implementation of the ‘Constantine Doxiadis’ programme is being promoted, which concerns the financing of major urban planning studies and includes the following five actions:

  1. Local Urban Development Plans (LDPs)
  2. Special Urban Plans (SPPs)
  3. Separate studies for Building Factor Allocation Zones (BZs)
  4. Separate studies for the delimitation of settlements and
  5. Independent studies for the characterisation of municipal roads

It should be noted that the T.P.S. and E.P.S. correspond to 80% of the Municipal Units (826 out of a total of 1,036) and 77% of the country’s surface area (101,324 out of 132,049 programme will be implemented primarily with resources from the Recovery and Resilience Fund, while there will also be funding from other sources (e.g. Public Investment Programme, NSRF, Green Fund).

The above actions will benefit the public and private sectors, as well as individual property owners. In particular, all municipalities in the country will be able to have institutionalised land uses. At the same time, sectoral ministries and private investors will know in advance which activities are allowed to be developed in each area/location, for proper preparation of studies and projects and finally the real value of individual property owners’ properties can be assessed.

  1. Solution to the issue of building land in the off-plan area

A transitional regulation resolves the issue of building on land in the off-plan area, which faces a road not recognized as a public road in the sense of the planning legislation.

This transitional regulation sets specific conditions linked to:

  • the actual existence of a road to serve the properties shown on aerial photographs taken before 27 July 1977
  • a road width of at least 3.5 metres to facilitate fire engine access.
  • provision of an environmental equivalent to be deposited as a deposit prior to the issuance of the building permit in a special account of the Deposit and Loan Fund, to be used exclusively for infrastructure and climate change adaptation projects within the administrative boundaries of the municipality where the land is located, based on priorities resulting from urban planning.

The Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr. Theo Skylakakis, said: “With the urban planning reform we are promoting, we aim to comprehensively change the way we deal with the built environment. With an increase in the space available for building within the plan, wherever the need arises, with demarcation, but also with disincentives to limit off-plan building, without violating fundamental property rights of citizens and above all, with the regulation of arbitrary building, which will put an end, together with the tools we are creating, using modern technologies, to the phenomenon of new, arbitrary building in Greece.”

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