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Drawing Lines in the Sands of Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua Beach World to Become Test Case for Enforcement of Bali's New Zoning Law.

(3/7/2011) The controversy over the building of a restaurant-spa-water sports complex within the Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) Complex at Nusa Dua at once encapsulates many of the problems Bali is encountering in controlling development, applying zoning laws and meeting the demands of local residents.

As reported by Balidiscovery.com local residents around Nusa Dua are petitioning to have construction of the beach side complex stopped for fear that it will further limit local access to popular beach and two religious sites. [See: Public Protests over BTDC Construction Project].

Locked in the current battle on the one side are the projects owners, BTDC and the Badung regency who wish the project to go ahead who are opposed by local citizens and environmentalists who say the project violates zoning laws.

A report in Radar Bali says that the project recently renamed as Beach World from its original branding as a Water park - now has a group from the Badung regency's House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung) calling for a halt to construction and the revocation of the building permits issued by the regency. The legislators, who are apparently breaking rank with Badung's Regent, say the project is trying to sidestep a 100-meter setback rule for constructions near Bali beaches, choosing instead to use the regency's own standard of only 25-meters.

This has prompted Made Dharma, a member of Commission A of the DPRD-Badung. to remind the project's managers that provincial law always has legal precedence over any regional regulation, a fact, he insists, those who issued the erroneous permits to the BTDC project must have known from the beginning. Infuriated, Dharma wants the project stopped and its building permits revoked.

Moreover, Dharma sees the permit granted by the regency as reckless; based on mere speculation that the Badung regency would somehow negotiate a way around the 2009 zoning law (RTRW) which stipulates a 100-meter setback.

The RTRW not only provides for a 100-meter set back for all permanent structures within 100 meters of the high-water mark, it also threatened 5 years in prison and Rp. 500 million fines (US$ 555,000) for any regency official who tries to circumvent the zoning law by issuing permits not in compliance with the law.

The BTDC Beach World project is standing only 45-meters from the high-water mark which complies with the regency's regulation of 25 meters but is in flagrant violation of the provincial zoning laws of 2007 and 2009.

Against the backdrop of the larger struggle over those opposed and those in favor of Bali's new zoning law, the BTDC Beach World Project may prove a critical test case as to whether or not Bali governor Made Pastika will succeed in enforcing strict island-wide measures for zoning and development.