A seaside Netanya landfill will soon be transformed into a site for more than 2,000 housing units, the Israel Lands Authority announced on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, ILA director Bentzi Lieberman, Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias and Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg Ikar signed an agreement on Tuesday night to bring about the area’s revival.

Under the agreement, the state will fund the evacuation of more than 2.5 million cubic meters of waste from the landfill at a cost of NIS 230 million, the ILA said.

While the original plan for the site called for the construction of 3,200 hotel rooms and 300 homes, the plan signed on Tuesday will create 2,062 residences and only 1,100 hotel rooms, the ILA said.

“Evacuating the landfill and promoting the building plan instead will completely change the character of the western part of the city,” Feirberg Ikar said. “This plan will bring more residents to the city, will expand hotel development, will increase the iris reserve areas and will give Netanya residents green spaces and gardens that will significantly enhance their quality of life.”

The landfill is located along the shore, in an attractive area, where trash removal could have far-reaching environmental implications, the municipality said. When Feirberg Ikar took office 14 years ago, she ordered the closure of the waste transfer station located there and that Netanya’s trash be sent outside the city. At the same time, the municipality began promoting a rezoning of the site as a “southern sea front,” with the participation of environmental groups, the city said.

The revamped site, which will occupy about 76.5 hectares (190 acres) of land, will leave 53.3 hectares of that area as open space, the municipality added. This decision is part of the city’s overall goal to go from 56 percent open space to 70 percent. Prepared by architect Amos Brandeis and the city engineering department, the plan involved environmental impact assessments and received the full approval of the Environmental Protection Ministry, the municipality stressed.

The garbage evacuation process will take approximately five years, the city said.

At the agreement signing, Steinitz emphasized the importance of transformation a garbage dump into thousands of housing units that are highly in demand. Meanwhile, Attias said that this decision would lead to the evacuation of other sites in the country’s center – like army bases and Tel Aviv’s Sde Dov Airport – and hasten the construction of the Gush Dan light rail.

By initiating this project, Netanya has joined other municipalities that see the importance in local government’s participation as a catalyst for improving the nationwide housing process, Lieberman said.

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