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Society

No More Acropolis-Blocking Buildings, Construction Suspended

March 5, 2019

ATHENS – Hearing cries from residents around the Acropolis who said new buildings were getting so high they blocked the ancient view, new construction licenses are being suspended for a year for new works and additions that would be more than 17.5 meters (57.4 feet high).

Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis ordered the temporary suspension n the areas of Athens just to the south of the Acropolis – Makrygianni and Koukaki, said Kathimerini. The neighborhood has already seen mass conversions of rental units to short-term rentals for sites like Airbnb, driving up rents and driving out residents.

The decision was taken after increasing calls for the the government to amend new zoning regulations that threaten to cover the Greek capital’s skyline with tall buildings that obstruct views of the Acropolis with no word whether the new buildings were designed for purchase, rentals or short-term rentals.

Residents of the neighborhood were trying to stop construction of 10-story buildings around the hill that will shut them out of a look at Greece’s most cherished site.

The Hellenic Society of Environment and Culture, the Friends of Athens Society and 11 residents appealed to the country’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, challenging a decision by Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba in October 2018 which okayed the building of another high-rise on Misaraliotou Street.

The appeal challenges existing legal framework and its subsequent amendments over the last four decades that apply in the Makrygianni neighborhood on the southern side of the Acropolis, the paper said.

The residents and groups opposed to the high-rises said it would spoil the view of the Acropolis and a petition onon the Avaaz online platform had collected 13,000 signatures by Feb. 21, a jum of 9,000 in three days.

Residents of the neighborhood said they became wary when a high-rise was being built on Falirou Street and dwarfed buildings around it. There was no report who the developers were of the buildings.

Architect Irini Frezadou, who is leading the protest, told the paper that while the Falirou Street building is legal according to zoning laws allowing additional height in exchange for “green” architecture, the project was not put forward for approval at the Central Archaeological Council, which has oversight of works affecting the country’s archaeological and historic monuments.

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