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(7/12/2008) Radar Bali and Nusa Bali report that on Thursday, June 5, 2008, during an inspection visit of the area surround Uluwatu temple, members of the Badung regional government and House of Representatives and were shocked to identify 10 villas in violation of provincial zoning laws.
The 10 villas were variously found to have broken zoning laws on "set back" from canyons and ravines; zoning use rules; and building permit requirements.
Villas Violating the Sacred Radius
Separate reports in both Nusa Bali and Radar Bar listed the following villas as being in violation of zoning rules:
Buildings within 1-2 km of Pura Uluwatu
• PT Bali-Bali - Building permit issued in 2005 as a residence. Now used as a meditation center. Violating zoning use rules.
Buildings within 2-3 km of Pura Uluwatu
• Vila Nyangyang. Violating zoning use rules.
• Unnamed Villa holding a building permit No. 049 issued in 2006. Violating zoning use rules.
• Vila La Gen a/k/a Vila La Om. Building permit No. 1779 issued in 2007. Violating zoning use rules.
• Istana Villa holding building permit No. 172 issued in 2002. Violating set-back rule from a cliff or ravine.
• Suluban Villa holding building permit No. 634 issued in 2008. Violating set back rule from a cliff or ravine.
Buildings within 3-5 km of Pura Uluwatu
• Blue Point Villa holding a residential building permit issued in 2006. Violating set back rule from a cliff of ravine.
• Tirta Luhur holding a residential building permit No. 1378 issued in 2005. Violating zoning use rules.
• Pekuren Residence holding no building permit and violating zoning use rules.
• Tirta Uluwatu holding building permit for an office No. 791 issued in 2002. Violating zoning use rules.
Among the villas mentioned in the press reports is PT Bali-Bali in Banjar Karang Boma. Built for meditation, the PT Bali Bali Villa has, according to the report, had its permits withdrawn for violating zoning rules and appears to have been abandoned in a half-finished state of construction.
The Uluwatu inspection team was said to be shocked to discover that several of the illegal villas have been in operation since 2002, constructed during the administration of Cok Ratmadi as Regent of Badung.
When asked about the many building violations, the Secretary of Commission B of the House of Representatives, Wayan Sudiana, could only shake his head while calling on the executive branch of the Island's government to urgently take action.
When Sudiana was asked if the errant villas would be demolished, Sudiana retorted: "don't demolish them, just revoke their permits. That's the easiest way, isn't it? (That's) The solution is at hand."
Sudiana told the press that the religious guidelines (Bhisama) provided by the Council on Hindu Affairs (PHDI) do not represent "sacred verse," as recently claimed by the a professor from the Hindi Dharma University (IHDN). Nonetheless, the legislator explained, these guidelines cannot be simply ignored, adding, "the provincial laws are also not 'sacred verse' but what are they if they can violated."
The legislative inspection team visiting Uluwatu was led directly by its Chairman, I Gede Adnyana. Also joining the inspection team were Commission A & B of the House of Representatives who were joined by regional enforcement officers, zoning officials and officers of the planning department.
After initially gathering at the sacred Pura Uluwatu the group visited the PT Bali-Bali villa in Banjar Karang Boma which is located within a 2 km radius of the temple and well within the prohibited 5 km "no-build" zone. During the round of inspections the villa was locked and closed, forcing the inspection team to jump the villa's walls for a closer examination. A member of the regional planning authority confirmed that the villa was closed and that its permits had been revoked due to zoning violations.
Istana Villa and Suluban Villa.
The team then moved on to the Istana Villa and Suluban Villa. A lively debate followed over set-back rules from ravines and canyons for the villas perched on the edge of a limestone cliff. While legislators joining the team complained of clear violations of set-back rules, Badung officials refuted such complaints claiming that rules designating the area as suitable for tourism accommodation mitigated any set-back violations.
Sudiana angrily rejected the explanation of officials who played a role in granting building permits to the villas, presenting an actual copy of the regulations to underline his disagreement.
The head of the regional zoning authority, Suwandi, said that the Istana Villa breaks set back rules, explaining that the status of the luxury villa built in 2002 is only now undergoing inspection and has been registered as a "pondok wisata" or "tourism cottage."
Local Residents Protest Regulations
Meanwhile, Radar Bali said that local residents in the Uluwatu area expressed their displeasure with the visit by local lawmakers and regional officials without including local residents as representatives in the process.
Many local landowners have called on the government to change the 5 km 'no build" zone surrounding Pura Uluwatu. Villagers have complained that they are compelled to live "off their lands" and enforcement efforts are limiting their income capabilities.
Local land owners have steadfastly rejected suggestions to sell their land to the government as a means of ending the long standing dispute.
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