Owner of ”Semafor” Appeals City’s Decision to Demolish Enclosed Terraces

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Photo: Miranda Cikotic/PIXSELL
Photo: Miranda Cikotic/PIXSELL

Caterers who have enclosed terraces in the public city area will not be able to extend the lease if they do not comply with the new regulations. If such a decision stands, it is certain that the cult place in the city could close its doors, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Café “Semafor”, which opened back in 1970, will have its contract for the lease of public urban space expire just before the season, in May. As the closed terrace has been considered an illegal space based on new regulations, its only option is to switch to only tables and parasols instead.

”My terrace is not illegal and cannot be declared as such. It is just not in line with the Decision on Communal Order, which came into force less than a year ago. The public gets the wrong impression that this terrace has been standing there illegally for 40 or even 50 years. I have a permit from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments from 1984, in which “Semafor” is allowed to set up awnings, new flower fences and plexiglass walls, a new stone floor, and set up an outdoor bar”, argues Željan Radman, the owner of “Semafor”.

”I never set up an outdoor bar, and the plexiglass wall was replaced with an aesthetically, more beautiful, glass one”, adds Radman. He indicates that he regularly pays the rent for the use of public space and that he does not owe the City a single kuna.

”No one will sit there in the winter. I think it is necessary to review the situation, make a decision, and avoid saying that there can be literally nothing but parasols. At least some kind of pergola… Wind protection of 1.60 meters of fence is mentioned only in zones three and four, not in the center”.

”Then why would people even come to the center for coffee? This decision on communal order, and its dates, were made in the last term. I don’t think the new government should blindly adhere to those deadlines, there is a possibility that some annex may extend that deadline so that everyone can keep this season intact”, Radman appeals, noting that in this situation the government should find a little empathy and not put all the terraces in the same basket.

”In the first zone, things are not the same everywhere. The same in the second zone. There are terraces that may or may not fit into the overall picture. I have to pay special attention to the platform on which the tables and chairs are set. Umbrellas would cost me around 250 to 300 thousand kuna, and all this is a new investment in times when caterers are on their knees. Now the banks do not give us loans because of the whole situation with COVID”, pointed the Semafor owner.

Radman believes the media has created a misconception that caterers made “billions” last season.

”In two years we have not worked for more than six or seven months. Two years ago, in 2020, the season was bad, interrupted in mid-August. Last year the season was only two good months. We cannot make up for two years of total catastrophe in two months”, Radman points out. ”If this decision by the previous government is implemented, we can only hope for the best”, he adds.

”Or I can close “Semafor” after 50 years of work, which raised generations of Split citizens, and I can rent space to someone else for a casino, a pharmacy, a shoe store… I don’t even know what to do”.

”Let those who made such a decision come to me for coffee and sit for an hour in the terrace without protection from the wind”, Radman says. He wonders, ”if there can no longer be awnings in the first zone, what will happen to the ones in front of the fish market or all awnings on the waterfront?”

”I wouldn’t ruin it. That is why I think that each space should be viewed individually”, says Željan Radman, who recalled the project task of arranging King Tomislav Street into Split Olympians Street, which was accepted by the City Council and taken over by Split architect Vjekoslav Ivanišević.

In that project, which was never realized, Radman notes, the “Semafor” café was supposed to move the terrace away from the baroque ramparts and keep the bar’s glazed terrace.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.


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