Landowners in North Tel Aviv Filed a Petition Against the Municipality: For the Delaying of Plans Worth Millions

Hundreds of petitioners against the Municipality and the Tel Aviv Jaffa Local Committee for Planning and Construction claim that the Municipality is dragging its feet in promoting the plan near Sde Dov that is slated to include huge neighborhoods, commercial areas, offices and hotels

12.10.20 | Gili Milintsky

Hundreds of private landowners filed an administrative petition yesterday (Sunday) against the Tel Aviv -Jaffa Local Committee for Planning and Construction and the Tel Aviv – Jaffa Municipality, due to the paralysis and procrastination in reaching decisions and determinations related to the promotion of the detailed plans for five complexes in the TA/3700 Plan. The plans are earmarked for the construction of huge new neighborhoods in North Tel Aviv, including thousands of residential units, commercial areas, offices and hotels near the Sde Dov Airport that is under evacuation. These are the most significant available land reserves in the central region, in the heart of sought after areas.

“Three years have passed since the date the detailed plans were submitted, about 2 and a half years from the date they were deposited, and over one year from the date the hearing of objections to the plans was completed. The Local Committee has yet to reach decisions in this matter, and has not publicized the recommendations of the investigator,” in the words of the petition submitted by Adv. Miriam Donin-Shoob and Tom Wolfstein, partners at Hamburger Evron & Co., who represent hundreds of private landowners who own a stake in the planned areas. “According to the Local Committee’s own decision in March of 2019, the time schedule or the authorization of the detailed plans was the end of 2019, i.e. over nine months ago.”

The petitioners claim that the dragging of feet is a violation of the planning and construction laws, because the Local Committee is obligated to authorize or reject the plan within 12 months of the date of its being submitted. If a ruling is not issued, the plan’s developer can transfer the plan to the authority of the District Committee within 18 months. However, in this case, the plan’s developer – the Tel Aviv Municipality – prefers to keep the plans in its own hands. Therefore, thousands of landowners, who have been waiting to become rich for years, find themselves dependent upon and waiting for the Municipality to decide regarding the advancement of the plan.

TheMarker has learned that a few months ago, the investigator had presented a list of questions and clarifications, including her recommendations; however, since then, her recommendations or any document on her behalf have not been disclosed. According to the estimations of interested parties, the investigator who was required to address more than 100 objections, invested a great deal of time examining the appraisal evaluations, and raised certain reservations regarding the mechanisms of allocating rights and the subdivision, which according to people involved in the plan, benefit the Municipality as a landowner.

Another significant issue relates to the restrictions against building hi-rises, which were relevant in mid-2018 – the date for submitting the objections, and have become irrelevant after the evacuation of Sde Dov. Consequently, many rights in part of the plans have yet to be realized, which will lead to significant changes in the future rights of the landowners in some of the complexes and they were not given expression in the present plan.

According to Adv. Donin: “Even Sde Dov has already been evacuated, and the outline plan for the development of the residential and employment area that was advanced by the Israel Land Authority has already been authorized by the District Committee, and at least one of the three detailed plans will be authorized in the near future. On the other hand, the landowners’ land in the TA/3700 Plan has remained unused for dozens of years, due to the planning foot dragging and helplessness of the various planning institutions.

“The petitioners who we represent are the third and fourth generation of the original landowners, and they are witnessing the development of plans in this compound, such as Sea and Sun and the Gush Hagadol, while they are unable to benefit from their asset. This failure also is very detrimental to the public interest, as it prevents the development of a substantial area of land in a sought after location in Central Israel, during one of the most severe housing shortages seen in our region.”

The landowners represented in the petition demand that the Tel Aviv Jaffa Local Committee transfer the deposited plans, forthwith, to the District Committee, or alternatively, to allocate a short period of time to the Local Committee to deliberate and reach a ruling regarding the objections that were filed against the deposited plans and to reach a decision. Moreover, they are considering filing a damages claim against the Municipality and the Local Committee as a result of their mishandling of the matter which they claim constitutes a serious infringement of their property rights. The National Committee for Planning and Construction
of Preferred Areas for Housing (VATMAL) could have also expedited the process; however, the Committee is not authorized to handle new plans at the moment because it has no legal validity to act, in the absence of appropriate government decisions.

The Investigator is Employed by an Interested Party

At the beginning of 2019, in light of the many objections and due to the fact that the Municipality has significant holdings and economic interests in the compound, Adv. Donin approached the Local Committee with a request to appoint an appraiser / arbitrator to discuss the objections. However, the Local Committee preferred to work with the investigator employed by the Local Committee. This is a situation in which the Committee’s investigator is actually employed by one of the plan’s central interested parties.

Due to a delay in the schedule and for other reasons, the petitioners have requested that the Court transfer the handling of the plans to the Tel Aviv District Committee for Planning and Construction, spearheaded by Chairwoman, Architect Daniella Posek, in order to promote the deposited plans and implement them as soon as possible. The District Committee authorized the outline plan for the development of a new municipal quarter in the area where Sde Dov Airport once operated, within less than two years from the date that the plan was submitted. In this plan as well, there was a need to authorize the detailed plan for each of the three planning complexes. Currently, one of the plans is already in the advanced stages of authorization.