May 12, 2023 – Dozens of construction sites have sprung up in the area of Opatija, with overbuilding threatening to devastate the environment of this Croatian tourist area. Although the spatial planning documentation was changed in 2021, in the meantime, 250 supplemental requests from investors arrived.
There are many large construction sites in Opatija, and in one of them, in less than a year, a green oasis where locals used to pick asparagus, and tourists enjoyed walking and enjoying the view was devastated.
“The worst of all is the road that they cut in half and moved the concrete part to private land, and it is the only approach to the houses,” says Nikola Turina from Opatija.
This was made possible by vague and unclear legal provisions and the insufficient presence of inspections, which further encourages individual investors, so scenes like this are common, they claim in the city of Opatija. Despite the moratorium on rough construction works from June 1st to September 15th, the noise of internal construction works will not bypass Opatija this tourist season either.
“Imagine what it’s like for people who own apartments; how do they explain to their guests that it takes 24 hours for a decision or ban to take effect. What we ask all the time is – if there are not enough inspectors, give us the authority to do something substantial,” said Filip Vlah, head of the municipal system of the City of Opatija.
They appeal to state inspections to become more involved in stopping unwanted phenomena in the area. They are asking the Government to amend the legislation enabling local self-government units to play a more active role in the fight against apartment building.
“With the new spatial plan, we have protected the area under the new road. There is no more construction, and reconstruction can be done in the existing dimensions, but I don’t know how many more buildings will spring up because the legislature allowed it. We complained to the institutions that reject us, and everything ends up at the top of the relevant ministry”, says the mayor of Opatija, Fernando Kirigin.
That is why Opatija decided to initiate a new procedure for amending the spatial planning documentation to reduce the construction area and make it impossible where there is no adequate infrastructure. Acceptable architectural solutions for this city, which is the cradle of Croatian tourism, will also be defined.
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