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Changing the Rule After Violating Them

Hotel Chateau de Bali Project Seeking to Change the Zoning Law That it Has Already Violated.

(4/18/2011) The chairman of the Karangasem House of Representatives (DPRD-Karangasem), I Gede Dana, is calling for a definite decision on whether to close down or allow the Hotel Chateau de Bali project located on Bukit Mimba in East Bali to continue. Said Dana: "If this stalled project gets permission under the RTRW (provincial zoning law) or the environmental protection regulations, it should be continued. On the other hand, if the project is not permitted under the law, it should be stopped and the land returned to its original state and function."

Dana's comments were made after receiving a visit from a delegation village chiefs from across the Karangasem region.

Dana told of how the Hotel Chateau de Bali was commenced with only a recommendation in hand from the regent of Karangasem. The project, however, is in direct violation of Bali's 2009 Zoning Law (RTRW) standing within an area designated as "green conservation area."

With the land already irrevocably scarred by reconfiguring the topography and the construction of a number of half-completed buildings, a formal request for the revision of the RTRW has been filed seeking by the project owner to legalize the project.

Dana said that if the project is determined to be unacceptable and in violation of environmental and zoning laws then all parties must submit to the rule of the law.

The 2009 RTRW clearly stipulates that all ocean-side buildings must be set back 100-meters from the high water mark. The same law also stipulates that any officials determined to have allowed a usage in violation of the zoning law can be punished with a prison sentence of five years.

The Bukit Mimba project is made controversial because the South Korean investor moved ahead by changing the land's topography and commenced construction before holding the necessary permits in an area strictly forbidden for hotel development. In mitigation and adding to the controversy, the regent of Karangasem had, in fact, issued a regional regulation unilaterally changing the area from a green conservation area" to an "exclusive tourism zone." Under Indonesian law, however, regional regulations are subservient to provincial laws meaning the project - in the absence of a change in the RTRW, is illegal.