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Little Bali Support for Taller Buildings

Bali Tourism Leaders Voice Their Opposition to Any Change that Will Allow 33 Meter High Buildings.

(5/23/2009) Efforts in some circles to change Bali's zoning and building regulations (RTRWP) to permit the building of 33 meters high structures - more than twice the current limit of 15 meters, is gaining virtually no support from Bali religious leaders, academicians, social commentators and tourism figures - all united in their opposition to the proposed building code change.

I Gusti Bagus Yudhara, past chairman of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), told the Bali Post that any agreement to change to current height limitation would only serve to open the door for changes in other areas. Yudhara said special exclusions for hospitals, schools, universities and public markets to allow structures standing 33 meters would be used as the basis for seeking wider exemptions for other classes of buildings in the future.

Elaborating on his reasons for opposing the change in maximum height rules, Yudhara said taller buildings would add to the general disorder in Bali and put added strain on an already over-burdened infrastructure. Finally, he sees permission for taller buildings as threatening the special character of the island and, in turn, its long-term sustainability as a tourism destination.

Arguing for retaining the 15 meter maximum height rule, Yudhara said that limited land area problems could be better addressed by allowing new buildings in Bali's north and east in accordance with approved zoning laws and supported by good access roads.

Separately, another tourism activist, Putu Juliadi, condemned plans to change the height restriction as not reflecting the Balinese people's love of culture, art and religion. Changes in the current rules, he insisted, would only serve special segments of society at the cost of Bali's future.

The Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Tjokorda Artha Ardhana Sukawati, sees no need for a change to the current rules, fearing any change would have a negative impact on Bali's tourism industry.