Court rejects Meretz petition against Gan Hamelech plan

January 25, 2011 21:57

The Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs rejected a petition by the Meretz party to cancel Mayor Nir Barkat's controversial Gan Hamelech plan, a redevelopment plan for the Silwan neighborhood. The court found that the petition was filed prematurely, as there are still ways to stop the project in the planning process, without resorting to legal methods.

The municipality expressed satisfaction with the courts' decision, accusing Meretz, the opposition party in the city council, of using the courts as a "political tool" to scuttle the plan. Barkat wants to create more green space in the area that was historically King David's Garden, with a plan that includes the demolition of 22 residential Arab buildings and retroactive legalization of 66 buildings in the Al-Bustan neighborhood.

The plan passed the initial approval of the Local Planning and Building Committee and is awaiting debate in the Interior Ministry's District Planning and Building Committee. Meretz was kicked out of the coalition in the city council last June after they voted against the Gan Hamelech plan.

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