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We'll Huff and We'll Puff and Pull Your House Down

Badung Enforcement Officers Demolish North Kuta Building Owned by an Australian.

(2/14/2009) Radar Bali reports that Badung regency enforcement officials, perhaps in response to growing criticism of their seeming impotence in enforcing zoning laws, deployed in force to a house standing in the "no-build" green zone in Canggu, North Kuta, and completely demolished buildings believed to be "owned" by an Australian expatriate.

The simple structure with thatched roofs said to resemble a local "warung" or food stall, came to the attention of local officials in December of last year when they delayed leveling the building against a promise from the owner that he would voluntarily remove the structure. Two months after issuing those promises, the building remained intact.

What's more, the owner of the building used the intervening two-month period to continue building on the site preserved under local zoning laws only for agricultural pursuits. The Chief of the Regency's Enforcement Corps (Kasatpol Pamong Praja), I Wayan Adi Arnawa, said: "We granted tolerance because of the owner's promise to self-demolish the structure, but he scoffed the law by continuing to add to the building. We were therefore forced to take strong action."

Accoring to press reports, the demolition by officials did not go smoothly with William, the Australian owner, attempting to obstruct the enforcement officers in their duty. He continued to promise that he would demolish the building while commencing a verbal altercation with the uniformed regency officials. Both sides remained intractable. In the end, the former Sub-district Head of North Kuta and current chief of regency enforcement, issued the verbal command to "Demolish Now." The structure was level with the ground a short time later.

When asked by reporters about the many other buildings standing illegally in the green zone, Adi Arnawa, became somewhat evasive. Claiming that data was still being accumulated on illegal buildings in the green zone, he said his men could not unilaterally move against illegal structures. Explaining, "there are procedures that must be followed beginning from summons, education, written warnings and, finally, if they continue to violate the law, stern and decisive action."