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Stricter Enforcement of Bali Building Codes

Poor Enforcement of Law by Island Officials Blamed for Mushrooming Expansion of 'Villa Ghettos.'

(3/27/2006) A growing number of complaints from the general public over uncontrolled development, violations of zoning codes and construction taking place without the required permits appear to be moving local officials to take an increasingly tougher stand with violators.

Green Zones

Those areas of Bali designated official "green zones" where permanent structures of any kind are prohibited are being reviewed with local officials promising to knock down any illegal construction. Wayan Masajana of Denpasar's City Government told the Indonesian-language Bisnis Bali: "We will show no toleration to illegal structures found to infringe on the 'green zone.' If it is demonstrated that violations have taken place, we will take the appropriate action in accordance with the law."

In charge of the department for enforcing violations of 'green zone' building prohibitions and general building permit violations, Masajana complained that the work of his team is often frustrated by interference from other municipal departments also charged with enforcing building codes.

In late February, Masajana's team leveled a number of buildings on Jalan Tukad Banyusari Panjer and Jalan Dekomaria in Denpasar found to be infringing on a 'green zone.'

To avoid the future confrontation entailed in having a building dismantled by city officials, Masajana urged the public to always seek a building permit (IMB) before commencing construction and never attempt to erect buildings in areas designated as a 'green zone.'

The Crackdown on Villas in North Bali

The Head of the Culture and Tourism Service in Bulelang, North Bali, Ida Bagus Puja Erawan has promised that he will be discussing ways with local lawmakers to handle illegal villa operations in his area.

Explained Erawan: "If the villas are operated exactly like hotels then the governments is required to supervise and request completed permits. From these permits the government will obtain cash contributions, similar to those made by hotels."

Erawan is seeking a formal decision from the Regent of Bulling that will permit control of villa development in the area.

Meanwhile the Head of Public Works for Buleleng, Ida Bagus Suarjana, admitted that many villas being built in Buleleng are being built under the guise of private residences when, in fact, they are being used as rental units.

The Island-Wide Perspective

Quoted in the Indonesian-language Kompas, the Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority, Gede Nurjaya, called for a cross-sector approach to the problem of the explosion in villa construction in Bali. The building of villas without proper business licenses that eventually become rental units is estimated to cost local hotels at least 10% of their occupancy and an equivalent amount in taxes that would otherwise accrue to the provincial government.