District Committee Conditionally Approves Har Homa E Plan For 540 HU

05 May 2021
Following the District Committee's closed discussion last week on the Har Homa E plan for 540 housing units, the committee published its decision on May 3 to approve the plan on the condition that a few minor modifications are made. Since the requested amendments are technical and fairly uncomplicated, they will likely be completed within the coming months. For example, one of the requests centers on issues of park and landscape in the area: the committee instructed the plan's initiators to more significantly mark bike paths along the nearby road within the skeleton plan.
Official publication of the plan's approval will not require an additional session at the District Committee. The committee will simply ensure that the changes were implemented in the plan and subsequently publish the approval in the Public Record.  

As noted previously, since the Har Homa E plan is designated for privately owned land, the planning process does not entail a tendering stage. In principal, the landowners can obtain building permits once the plan's approval is officially published. However, there are a few issues that could delay procurement of building permits:

  1. The District Committee decided that building permits could only be issued after work began on expansion of the access road to Har Homa E. Since the road's expansion is a municipal project, the timing of the work's commencement is unknown.
  2. As the plan is designated for a location which is does not border an existing built-up area, it will be necessary to establish special sewerage infrastructure to serve the new neighborhood/settlement. The timetable for such construction is likewise unknown to us.
  3. In the area of the plan, there is a house where a Palestinian family resides. While the family claims ownership of the home and the area around it (2.3 dunams of land), the Israeli authorities do not recognize their claim to the land. Despite the District Committee's rejection of the family's objection, it is possible that the legal dispute over the land in question between the family and the plan's initiators may result in construction delays.
Although the aforementioned items can potentially defer the building process, they are technical obstacles, and therefore should not be expected to block construction altogether. However, it should be noted that the decision to expand the access road is in the hands of the Israeli authorities; if they decide not to carry out the road expansion, it would obstruct housing construction in the area.

In recent months, Ir Amim has discovered the existence of other parcels of land in Har Homa E which are privately owned by other Israeli property-owners. While there is currently no sign of advancement of outline plans in this area, official approval of the plan for 540 housing units could serve as an impetus to begin promoting further planning in Har Homa E.