Building frenzy in Hod Hasharon

The city wants to increase its population by 20% over the next five years. Not everyone thinks bigger is better.

By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY
October 25, 2007 10:07
1 minute read.
hod hasharon 88 224

hod hasharon 88 224. (photo credit: )

 
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Hod Hasharon has gone on an unprecedented building frenzy in which it plans to build 3,000 new homes and increase its population by 10,000 people - or 20 percent - over the next five years, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Hasharon. But the "grandiose" plan is causing a great deal of controversy, with many residents fearing environmental damage, traffic nightmares and an end to the city's pastoral atmosphere. According to the report, the plan is the most "revolutionary" to hit Hod Hasharon since it was declared a city 17 years ago. City planners have set two target dates: a five-year goal of increasing the population by 20%, and a 20-year goal during which time they aim to double the current population. Building work on hundreds of apartments has already begun in the western part of the city, and a new shopping mall and high-tech complex are currently going up in the Neveh Ne'eman area. But while many residents are reportedly worried by the effects of so much construction and such an increase in the population, most city planners are apparently in favor of the general plan, although some are worried that the work is taking place too rapidly and the city does not have the infrastructure to cope with such a population explosion. Mayor Hai Adiv sent a letter to Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz saying that the city's transport system cannot cope with the current needs of residents, let alone with a large growth in future needs. The city has presented plans to the National Roads Company (NRC) for the widening of certain roads and the construction of interchanges to enable smooth access to the highways around the city. The NRC is reportedly currently considering the plans. According to the report, apartment prices in Hod Hasharon have risen sharply in the past two years, with the price of a five-room apartment increasing from $200,000 to $350,000. Local real estate agents attribute the rise to high demand for property in the city. But the building boom is not expected to bring about any lowering of prices, with mayor Adiv saying the city has begun to attract "a population of a very high standard, and will continue to do so in the future."

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