The District Committee authorized the Israel Land Development Company’s plan for a hotel on the Herzliya Pituach seashore, near the most expensive street in Israel. The neighbors are demanding that the area be re-designated as ‘open public land’

11.02.20 | Shlomit Tzur

The District Committee for Planning and Construction rejected the neighbors’ opposition; and in December, it authorized the Israel Land Development Company’s plan to build a 14-floor hotel on the Herzliya seashore.

Now, the neighbors have approached the Court with a demand to cancel the plan’s authorization and to changed the land’s designation to open public space.  The land, owned by the Israel Land Development Company, spans 8 dunams on Galei Tchelet Street, north of the Sharon Hotel and west of the De Shalit Square.  There is a building plan from 1968 that applies to this land for the construction of a hotel that has yet to be implemented.

Since then, TAMA 13 and the Beaches Law have been ratified, which did not cancel the existing building rights, but obligated adapting the plan to the new provisions and receiving authorization from the Protection of Coastal Environment Committee.  Accordingly, and based on the instruction of the committees, a plan was finally authorized that allows the construction of a hotel only on the eastern section of the land, at a distance of more than 100 meters from the sea.

The committee is of the opinion that the regular planning of this plan is appropriate and correct, where it preserves the public interest for the land to be open to the public along the seashore, and creates hotel areas that feature construction that is in keeping with the environment,” noted the District Committee in its decision to authorize the plan.

However, it accepted the opposition’s claim that the definition of part of the area as ‘open private’ is problematic and added a condition that prohibits holding private events in the open section of the land that is privately owned:  “The plan is in keeping with TAMA 13 and implements the Protection of Coastal Environment Committee’s decisions to designate the open area as private open space, on condition that no private events are held there.   Restricting the area that allows for building a hotel and creating private open space is the appropriate planning balance.”

The Committee also related to the neighbors’ claim that the hotel will be detrimental to their privacy:  “In order to reduce noise or detriment to the privacy of the opposing parties, a pool may be built only on the roof.  The commercial space will be built along the southern frontage that goes down to the seashore, and at the entrance level in the southeast section of the building only.”

The Plan was Nullified in 1983

11 families living on Galei Tchelet, Ha’maapilim and Havatzelet Hasharon Streets have recently filed an administrative petition to the Tel Aviv District Court against the District Committee for Planning and Construction, the Local Committee, the Principal Planning Issues Committee, the Protection of Coastal Environment Committee and against the Israel Land Development Company.  In the petition, the neighbors are demanding the nullification of the decision to allow the construction of the hotel, and t0 change the land’s designation to open public space.

According to the neighbors, the plan that applies to the land was nullified with the ratification of TAMA 13 in 1983.  They also claimed that the construction of a hotel on land that currently serves as open space on the way down to the sea and turning it into a private area is unreasonable:  “It is not possible that a natural resource that is almost the most precious, i.e. the seashore, should be placed in private hands and become dependent on the mercies of the private owners.   This is a beach in an area that has considerable value in the section from the Kurkar Cliff.  Protecting this area as a public resource is in the hands of the authority, and it is not entitled to transfer this responsibility to the hands of a company whose goals are purely financial.”

According to the petitioners, the considerations for the authorization of the plan were purely economic, since the municipality knew that if it would expropriate the land it would be forced to pay the Israel Land Development Company high compensation fees:  “Granting priority to the economic consideration in an almost exclusive manner is unacceptable.  Although the economic consideration is one of the considerations permitted for a planning institution to take into account, when deciding to authorize or reject a plan; however, granting it preference over any other consideration is inappropriate.”

According to the neighbors, if the plan is authorized, they will be seriously affected, because they live next to the land and some, actually border it:  “This is a quiet neighborhood of private homes, which are one or two floors at most.  The streets in the neighborhood are narrow and one-way.  A large number of the homes in the neighborhood enjoy an open view of the sea from the west.  The hotel will create serious traffic caused by the hotel guests, supply trucks and equipment that will also flow into the De Shalit Square, and this will create a significant traffic flow problem.

The petitioners will be represented by Adv. Tamar Migdal and Adv. Nitzan Zimran of the Meitar law Firm; and the Israel Land Development Company will be represented by Adv. Haim Waintrob, Director of the Planning and Construction Department and partner at Hamburger, Evron & Co.