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Ra'anana to pay builder NIS 8 million

A judge found that it wrongly forced the builder to construct underground car parks in four residential apartment towers.

The city of Ra'anana will have to pay NIS 8 million to a building contractor after a judge found that it wrongly forced the builder to construct underground car parks in four residential apartment towers, reports the Hebrew weekly Ha'ir-Tzomet Hasharon. Both sides agreed on the compensation amount in arbitration after years of discussions on the issue. According to the report, problems began after the Rotem Shani building company presented plans for the construction of a residential district in the eastern part of Ra'anana, just south of the Open University. The plans called for four 17-story residential towers, containing a total of 200 apartments, with two parking spaces for each apartment. Although the district planning and construction committee agreed with the builder that there was no requirement that the car parks be underground, the city's legal adviser, Irit Gal, insisted that they must be. In 2002 the builder agreed to speed the project along by building underground car parks and allowing an arbitration judge to sort out the issue. Three years ago, the judge decided that the company should not have been forced to build the car parks underground, and discussions have been taking place since then to decide the extent of the compensation to be awarded. Now the sum has been decided, and some councilors are furious at the waste of time and taxpayers' funds. "The wrongful advice of the legal adviser has caused the city to pay out public moneys unnecessarily," one councilor said. Legal adviser Gal refused to comment to the newspaper, but Mayor Nahum Hofree and other councilors expressed support for her work and for her legal skills.