Cyprus Property: Famagusta area needs new planning

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By Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates Ltd – Real Estate & Project Managers

Undoubtedly, the municipalities in the greater Famagusta area know that they probably have some of the best beaches in Cyprus, yet, their district has been suffering due to poor town planning deriving from a weakness of the local municipalities themselves.


 
However, it is good to see that some town councils have woken up to this reality and are taking bold decisions and measures, albeit with some faults, that will hopefully benefit the area and the national economy.
• These municipalities are mostly affected by the beach protection orders that in some area extend about 100m inland, thus reducing the effective use of the area of homes or developments and deprive the projects of properly utilising their beachfront. This whole zoning business must be reviewed, with a property surveyor tasked with conducting a proper study of the area and determining the level of access to the beachfront and usable land.
• Many projects are enclosed which means that their development is limited. A better planning of roads is necessary to ensure accessibility to these units, with more than 50% of these projects having a limitation on what they can and cannot do. I realise that such a measure is hard to implement and could be time consuming, as it could include expropriation of land and compensation, while a fairer system would allow that those properties that will benefit from such a scheme would have to pay an amount towards that compensation. In other words, we need some sort of a new master plan for the area in general.
• Their hands are tied, so in way the few irregularities should be tolerated by the state, such as we have seen with the upgrades that benefit the local communities in the Sinera area in Paralimni and Ayia Triada in Sotira. What has happened there has been to th benefit of the community and the local economy, despite the noise from so-called environmentalists.
• These municipalities should get better organised into a common administration of the development in the area in order to ensure some uniformity as regards building coefficients, height, etc. At the same time, a coordinated plan for the sports fields of Ayia Napa, together with those of Paralimni, Dherynia and Sotira would benefit everybody. One example of lack of decision making is the volleyball centre in Protaras that was built at a cost of EUR 1 mln and remains abandoned for seven years. Other sports an recreation facilities could also be jointly organised, such as for motocross, mountain bikes, hiking, horse riding, etc.
• The municipalities need to urgently review the coefficients and the heights of buildings, as in some areas the residential coefficient is limited at 20-30% of the property and for hotels at 30-70%, while in other districts this rate has been raised to double that amount. The whole area has been stuck with the 2-storey rule and 50% cover. But why note allow a 10-floor building? Why should high-rises in Limassol be allowed to go up 30 floors and the Famagusta area has been kept in the dark ages?
• The new marinas of Ayia Napa and Paralimni will for sure change everything in the area. These projects, combined with the upgrade of some hotels, suggests greater demand for holiday homes and other units, as a result of which the tourist season could also be extended. The building coefficient for Protaras was recently reduced from 45% to 30% and for hotels to 40%. Is it logical to downgrade a whole area that has the best beaches in Cyprus?
• These areas also vast unitilised state land, which should be seriously considered for a golf course. I wonder what needs to be done to get these municipalities to coordinate their efforts and put in a joint request for such a project.
• Finally, the local mayors should not be content with what little they have. They should submit professionally designed and planned projects in order to better persuade the government officials.
It seems that the Famagusta district has been “burnt” by technocrats and has been downgraded to a residential holiday resort for homes mostly for people from Nicosia. The mayors of these towns should wake up and realise that they have been relegated to the poor member of the holiday family and they are far behind, unless they take matters into their own hands.

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