STUDY OF URBAN PLAN OF HIMARA AREA AND PRIORITIES FOR TOURISM DEVELOPMENT 2011 - 2012
CLIENT: MUNICIPALITY OF HIMARA
The coastal zone of Himara is one of the most valuable territorial resources of Albania and one of the most beautiful and distinguished landscapes of the Ionian coast. The preparation of a local planning instrument to contribute to the sustainable tourism development through supporting investments and revitalizing the local environmental and cultural assets is a long needed priority in order to open up opportunities for economic development while safeguarding the future of the area and the well being of the local inhabitants.
The overarching goal of the Study of the Plan of Himara as stated in the ToR prepared by the Himara Municipality is to:
promote the economic and touristic development of the area through a territorial plan which will among other take into consideration the existing traditional and the new constructions and will harmonize and discipline the development and the civil and touristic constructions, by directing the strategic development of the area aiming at the creation of conditions for a contemporary tourism, offering quality services, caring for the environmental protection and in particular for the maintenance of the natural ecosystem and having peculiarities that will render it competitive on the tourism market of the Mediterranean Region.
The Plan has been prepared according to the provisions of the new legal framework on territorial planning in Albania under the law 10119/2009 and by-laws, which have come into effect in September 2011. The objectives of the PPV as specified in the law are (art. 27):
a) defining of the principles and directions of territorial development at the local level;
b) balancing of the national and local needs;
c) creating of conditions for a sustainable and balanced territorial development, by taking into consideration, economic, social and cultural development, and the nature environment characteristics, capacities and values;
d) guiding of the development of residential systems and other buildable systems, and guiding of urban territories/areas;
e) defining of the construction intensity and expansion;
f) planning of measures to ensure protection of environment and protection, development and best use of natural resources, agricultural land, landscapes and the green areas;
g) defining of the general rules for the use of land and water areas;
e) defining of the location of roadways, water resources, ports, energy transmission sites, waste processing sites, and of the other public infrastructure and public easement;
f) identifying of the natural protected areas;
g) protecting of natural areas and the rules for their use, and, when necessary, making proposals for their improvement, defining of new protected areas, or termination of the protection regime, as required by the effective legislation;
h) defining of leisure and entertainment areas, and determining of the rules for their use;
Furthermore, the General Local Plan of the Municipality of Himara aligns to the provisions of the Southern Coastal Development Plan approved in 2008.
The Plan comprises of a set of documents and associated maps at scales 1:10.000 and 1:5000 which encompass the entire administrative territory of the municipality with a special focus in each settlement area. It contains policies and programs which refer to the future development of tourism and land use regulations which are associated with the maps and aim to create uniform and clear rules for the construction in all parts of the area.
The first stage of work involved developing an insight into the problems of the area revealed through surveys, in-depth interviews with local stakeholders and data collection at the local and national level. Separate discussions have been carried out by the Consultant with the representative of each village to record the problems and expectations from the plan (see appendix A, Analysis report, p. 95). This work resulted in preparation of a comprehensive assessment of the existing situation of the municipality identifying existing trends, key problems and possibilities for future development of tourism that has been used as the base for the formulation of the urban plan (submitted in May 2011).
The feedback from the public presentation was thoroughly discussed among the members of the Planning team and served as a base for the formulation of the Municipal Land Use Plan which was elaborated by the Studio through consultation with the Municipality from August to September 2011. It involved the following aspects: a) Overall concept for the and zoning methodology b) of future tourism development of Himara Municipality regarding bedding capacity and distribution among different parts of the territory and different forms of tourism based on economic and population projections and expected trends. c) and investigation of opportunities for funding and investment at national level. d) following specialized surveys.Following public presentations, the Consolidated Documents and maps of the Draft Plan and Regulations have been uploaded by the Consultant on the website of the NATP and placed in public display on 1st of December 2011 for a period of 60 days based on requirements of the Law on Territorial Planning. The display of the maps was organized in two locations, the main entrance hall of the Municipality and the school of Himara City. The public was invited to submit written comments on a special form that was provided at the Municipality front desk. The comments were collected in a sealed ballot box which was placed in the same area of the public display for this special purpose. Prior to the termination of the public consultation period, the Municipality held an additional public hearing in Dhermi on 25th of January 2012 in order to provide additional clarification and responses regarding how the plan provisions will impact on private properties. The hearing, which was publicly announced, was attended by more than 50 people.
Upon the termination of the deadline of the formal consultation period, on the 1st of February the ballot box was opened to record the registered comments in the presence of the Consultant consortium official representatives and Head of the Urban Planning Department. A protocol was signed on the spot recording all requests that have been submitted. The period for submission of comments was prolonged for an additional week until Friday 10th of February. In total have been received 200 comments which refer mainly to claims for private properties. Each comment has been considered upon review the final modifications of the zoning and regulations.
The initial scope of work has been extended in January 2012 for another 6 months with additional tasks of the preparation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Plan, support of the Municipality over plan adoption and approval processes at local and national level and training in SEA, Regulations and GIS. The Plan of Himara has been adopted at the Municipal Council on March 23, 2012.