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Green Belt Building Violations Rife

Zoning Officials Find it Difficult to Move Against Those Building in Bali's Green Zones.

(10/17/2005) In the face of blatant disregard for building-restriction codes, illegal building in government-defined "green belts" is now largely out of control, according to the Denpasar Head of Zoning and Building, I Gusti Bagus Agung Sutedja, quoted in the Indonesian-language daily DenPost.

"Green-belt" zones are posted areas of the island in which is is specifically prohibited to erect any permanent structures.

According to Sutedja, dating from the beginning of the current reformation period in Indonesian there has been a laxity of enforcement of building restrictions. As a result, unauthorized building in designated "green zones" along Jalan Sedap Malam, Jalan Cokroaminoto, and Jalan Waribang is now widespread. By his estimates, more than 30% of conserved "green belt" lands along Jalan Sedap Malam have suffered from prohibited construction activity.

In explaining the obvious contempt for the law represneted by buildings standing in designated "green zones," the zoning official say violators always respond to enforcement moves by pointing to other illegal structures in the same area pre-dating the construction of their buildings. Such excuses, however, do little to clarify how so many people have managed to erect building without first obtaining required building permits in areas prominently posted with "green belt" warning signs.

Enforcement of building prohibitions, Sutedja says, are further complicated when construction activity happens in "green belt" areas removed from the side of public roads and therefore less susceptible to the scrutiny of zoning inpsectors.

With large numbers of buildings already erected in blantant violation of "green belt" rules, officials are in a quandary as to how to address new violations in the same area against the background of the lack of political will to crack down on existing violators by tearing down permit-less structures standing in "green belt" zones.