Editorial - I hereby notify all my neighbors...


Of course, we must abide by the law, otherwise where will we end up? But what happens when a particular law is the Mother of All Evil? I’m talking about a law that greatly impacts upon the quality of life of us all, the anachronistic Planning & Building Law (1965). Formulated at a time when the average height of people in Israel was 1.60 meters, the law allows anyone who can grip a pencil plan a building. Worse still, it is a law easily circumvented by anyone who can pay a smart lawyer; it is a law which taints the notion of political influence with the scent of dirty money.


            Putting aside the many arguments as to why this law needs changing, let’s focus on the perhaps the most annoying aspect of its day-to-day impact on our lives: the use of minute, unreadable and indecipherable advertisements in the press which serve as excuses for public notice whenever someone wants to alter a master plan, secure a variance in the building line or gain an exception to the permissible built-up area. Purportedly, this is sufficient “direct” notification to your next door neighbor that you intend to build something or other which does not meet with the planning regulations your neighbor believes we all live by.


            Under the Second Law of Murphy, those most liable to be affected by such changes rarely see these “notices,” probably because they are designed not to be seen in the first place. Wouldn’t it be simpler to knock on a neighbors door and ask if he minds if you add an extra floor to your house? After having digested the latest headlines, how many of us have time or energy to read the small print in each of the daily papers on the off-chance that something is afoot in our neighborhood? And even if we do, how many of us recognize our own homes among the banners of Zone, Block, and Plot?


            The whole system of tiny print, convoluted phraseology, and secret siting of these so-called Public Notices is designed to confuse the public and to legally cover certain asses (but barely). It’s time to revise the Planning & Building Law, and the whole system that condones it.


            P.S. Regards to all my neighbors in Zone 2257, Block 19, Plot 95.


            Architect Ami Ran

חזרה לגליון 47    back to issue 47