The Netivot Municipality’s planned project of 1,728 apartments for the chareidi tzibur in S’dot Negev has been canceled as opponents who were unsuccessful in stopping it took their case to court and they emerged with a victory in hand.
The Be’er Sheva Administrative Court has canceled the decision of the Netivot Planning Committee to build a chareidi neighborhood of 1,728 apartments on land belonging to the S’dot Negev Regional Council. The decision is unique in the sense that the local planning board already gave its approval in March 2019 as part of an agreement reached with the national government and Netivot City Hall pertaining to the construction of 13,000 apartments.
The parcel of land allocated for the chareidi project is 553 dunam (138 acres) along ’11 Nekudot’ Street, a main entrance to the city. This was declared a ‘priority project’ by the Housing Cabinet in February 2018; the construction of 10-story buildings in the city to provide 1,728 new apartments for the chareidi tzibur along with 240 sheltered housing units and 250 hotel rooms.
Of the 553 dunams, 117 belongs to the S’dot Negev Council, which objected to the plan because the project falls on its land and not Netivot’s. In 2018, Netivot City Hall filed with the Interior Minister in June 2018, and the ministry’s Committee to Change Boundaries ‘moved’ the disputed 117 dunams from S’dot Negev to the jurisdiction of Netivot. In addition to the S’dot Negev Regional Council, Moshav Tekuma objected to the plan too since some of its land was being expropriated for the planned chareidi housing project.
In March 2019, the local planning board rejected the objections from S’dot Negev and Moshav Tekuma and the planned chareidi housing project was approved with the stipulation that only 100 dunams will be taken from the S’dot Negev Council instead of 117. The regional council filed an appeal in the Be’er Sheva Administrative Court, calling the decision and the return of 17 dunams “a mockery”, calling on the court to reverse the Netivot Planning Committee’s decision to approve the chareidi housing project.
Justice Geula Levin accepted the appeal and ruled the plan cannot be approved since it includes many flaws that compel the court to cancel it. The court explained the planned apartments are in contradiction to the ‘Tama 35’ laws and that a planning committee does not have the jurisdiction to approve a project that includes using land outside of its jurisdiction. The court had harsh words for the actions of the Netivot Planning Committee. The court ordered the cancelation of the plan as well as compelling the state and Netivot City Hall to pay the legal expenses, NIS 40,000, for the plaintiffs.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)