THE CAPITAL CITY IS GROWING AND GETTING UGLIER
The large-scale destroying of green areas in Sofia will very soon turn the capital city into a ghetto, the Citizens' Movement for Battling Corruption and Illegal Construction alarmed during the week. The NGO held a roundtable on Wednesday (June 18), where data about violations connected with illegal construction, large-scale restitution around the blocks of flats, and children's playgrounds, were announced. At least 4,000 such violations have been establsihed since 1995, and the green areas are regarded as reserve sites for new buildings, lawyers commented. The main reasons for that is the lack of a detailed town plan for the capital and the extremely facilitated procedure for declaring municipal public property municipal private property. Simple majority is required for voting the statute of plots of land (public property cannot be sold and no building is allowed on it). Thus, absurd situations resulted, such as the restitution of a section of the access lane to the Mladost 1 housing complex, together with the two traffic light there. Another absurdity is a filed application for moving 30 trees from a restituted real estate. The space between blocks of flats in the Mladost and Lyulin housing complexes, the areas near the Vitosha mountain, and the southern arc of the Sofia ring-road, are those where appetites for restitution are the greatest. Large-scale construction of petrol stations, catering establishments, and shops, goes on there. The enemies of illegal construction appealed for declaring all green areas in Sofia public property and impose a moratorium on the restitution that has already been effected. They also insisted to a new town plan, to be approved after a referendum. Borislav Borisove, who was the only representative of the Sofia Municipal Council at the roundtable, said that some of the provisions of the restitution laws were detrimental to the housing quarters round the country as well. According to him, the problem could be settled by drafting and passing a special act, to regulate the responsibilities of the loacl authorities in the capitals' regions. Sofia's future does not look rosy at all now. The green areas and children's playgrounds will be still diminishing, and the few bits of gardens that have remained will serve as privies for homeless and pet dogs in the capital city.