Last week’s publication about another 600 housing units being approved in Pisgat Zeev in East Jerusalem brought up again the confusion regarding the issue of planning and construction in Jerusalem. Almost every other week do we hear about another approval of plans, and not always can we understand the real political (and practical) meaning of those approvals. So, I thought it could be useful to try to make some sense and order in that matter.
First and most important, construction planning in Jerusalem is a confusing topic, mainly because there is a mix of many different stages of approval/promotion of plans, publication of tenders (i.e. the beginning of an implementation of plans) and political announcements which in some cases may be only for show or to apply political pressure. (For example, a declaration by the Minister of Housing in December 2009, on the intention to publish tenders in Pisgat Zeev, Har Homa and Neve Ya’acov, turned out to be just an announcement, and almost no tenders have in fact been published.)
A Tender is one of the last procedures before a construction can get started. The tender, which comes only after the approval and validation of a plan, is actually the governmental publication of a call for proposals to buy the rights to build the project. After the bidding process is completed and the contractor is elected, then he would apply for a construction permit from the municipality and after getting the permit, he can start the works. A tender will only take place in large scale governmentally initiated projects. In cases of private initiators – they can go straight from the validation of the plan to apply for a construction permit and start the works.
Recent tenders in East Jerusalem include:
- Ramot – published November 22, 2009 – 20 housing units
- Pisgat Ze’ev – published December 31, 2009 – 150 housing units – previously tendered in June 2008, but no proposal won the bid.
Before these, the last tender in Jerusalem was in August 2008 for 130 housing units for seniors in Har Homa.
Plans are harder to track as there are so many stages of promotion of plans, and so many plans all at the same time.
The main planning stages that can cause public attention are:
1) Approval at the local municipality committee – after this the plan is sent to the regional committee
2) Approval for “depositing” – the decision of the regional committee to allow the publication of the plan for public objections. Takes few months until the plan is ready to be published – usually the committee will ask to make some changes before the publication.
3) Depositing – Publication in the newspapers that the plan is subject to public objections for 60 days.
4) Discussion of the Objections – the regional committee hears the objections and recommends whether to make changes in the plan or to reject it or not.
5) Approval for validation – after all the changes are made, the regional committee again discusses the plan to allow its validation.
6) Publication of validation – a publication of an ad in the newspapers that the plan is valid – only after these publications can the plan be implemented.
In the media discourse almost all of the above stages can be described as: “the plan was approved” – sometimes it’s approved to be deposited, sometimes approved to be validated or approved at the local committee. Although the practical meaning of each stage is different, the political significance of each stage is the same: the plan is promoted, and that demonstrates an intention to move forward.
Recent Jerusalem Construction Plans
Plan no. 11085 for some 1,600 housing units was approved for depositing on 9/3/10. See details here.
Check out this map for the new construction plan for the area near Gilo, for a total of some 4,000 Housing units:
The plan, initiated by the Israel Land Authority (ILA), was divided into 4 smaller plans:
- Plan 5834A – for 2,337 housing units was approved for validation on 9/9/08, this will probably take some time for it to be implemented because of ownership issues.
- Plan 5834B – for 549 housing units – this plan was deposited (published in ads) on 25/1/10.
- Plan 5934C – for 813 housing units – the objections for this plan were discussed at the regional committee last Thursday, 25/2/10. We are awaiting the decision.
- Plan 5934D – for 1,100 hotel rooms – wasn’t yet approved for depositing.
Pisgat Ze’ev North
The plan was approved for depositing on 25/1/10. The plan had previously been approved for depositing by the regional committee on 8/7/08 (for 900 housing units), but since then the initiator, the ILA, decided to change it so that there will be fewer problems of ownership and reduce it to 600 housing units.
The new version was brought to the regional committee and approved to be deposited on 25/1/10.
See details and map here.
Plan no. 6513A for 393 housing units was published for validation on 30/11/09, few days after the moratorium. It was approved for validation already on 7/8/08. According to the Ministry of Housing, the planned tenders in Neve Ya’acov are to implement this plan.
Plan no. 13157 for some 850 housing units was approved for depositing on 17/11/09
Plan no. 6576 for some 750 housing units was published for validation on 3/7/09.
Plan no. 7160b for a few dozens of housing units in Beit Hanina. It was approved by the regional committee for validation on 9/2/09.
Apparently, the land of the plan, in the middle of the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina, is owned by Jewish initiators, who plan to build some 60 housing units for Israeli settlers.