Easing of 80-meter rule back on the agenda

PHUKET: The Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office (PNREO) has proposed changes to the current law limiting the height of construction in Phuket to no higher than 80 meters above sea level.

A five-year ban on building above 80 meters was enforced in 1997 as a way of preventing landslides. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) extended the ban in 2002 for one year and then again on October 1, 2003.

At the weekly CEO Governor’s meeting on Wednesday, PNREO Chief Ong-art Chanacharnmongkol reported that a total of 323 plots of land above the 80-meter contour are under cultivation.

K. Ong-art said that he had received many complaints from the landowners that they could not build even a small house such as a dwelling for rubber tappers. If they did build such a structure, it would be illegal.

The issue was initially raised in a CEO Governor’s meeting on March 8, following which Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura assigned an ad-hoc committee to consider how to tackle this problem.

K. Ong-art said that one condition of an easing in the regulation should be that owners could build only a single-story building less than six meters in height and with a footprint of no more than 150 square meters. There should be no more than one building per plot of land.

He stressed that the rule change would be purely for the benefit of landowners farming on hills, and not for anyone wanting to build a hotel, resort or other property for business.

“We will allow only those who were registered as landowners before October 1, 2003, to make use of this regulation,” he added.

“I made this proposal to the policy and planning office of the MNRE. They told me to come up with building limits that would not benefit property companies. That’s why I propose that the easing of the law apply only for people who were registered as land plot owners before October 2003, and why the [proposed] specifications [allow only a small building].”

K. Ong-art said that the issue is due to be reviewed again by the ad-hoc committee on April 20. “We will see then what the details will be, and then we will send our conclusions to the MNRE’s policy and planning office,” he said.

Phuket News

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