Ramot slopes
Renderings of ramot slopes.. (photo credit:ISRAEL LANDS AUTHORITY)


The mood was thick on Tuesday during a session discussing a plan to expand Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood over the protected woodland of Mitzpe Neftoah.

In November, the National Planning and Building Committee’s Plan 1012 was approved and aims to build 1,400 housing units on the 4.1 hectare (10 acre) hilltop. Expanding the neighborhood, the plan’s managers claim, is necessary to lowering the cost of living in the capital city.

However, those present at the proceedings on Tuesday to hear objections from both the government and members of the public, all conceded that the plan will fail to alleviate housing issues and cause sever environmental damage to the Mitzpe Neftoah hill, which overlooks Emek Ha’arazim (Cedar Valley).

“Everyone says this is a big mistake,” Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Tamir Nir told the panel, after talking of the capital city’s “debt” to residents to improve existing neighborhoods. “Continuity depends on environment, community and finance. Regarding these three factors, this plan is almost completely unsuccessful.”

Though earlier in the meeting representatives from the architectural planning team, lead by Ari Cohen, were talkative and bright-eyed, their deameanors noticeably changed as deputy mayor Tamir Nir criticized their plan.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post afterward, said that although the current municipality is very much opposed to the plan and could have the power to overturn, that opinion could easily change if a new city government were to come into place. He also apologized for Cohen for his harsh criticism during the proceedings, noting “it’s nothing personal.”

The Jerusalem Municipality’s chief engineer Shlomo Eshkol had slammed the program for not following the guidelines of the city’s urban renewal plan, which focuses on strengthening the city’s downtown area and areas that run along the light rail.

Eshkol told the planning representatives that since the new neighborhood would not be close to existing or future light rail lines, he called the plan “completely nonessential.”

“We need to focus our power where we can make an impact – not on urban sprawl,” Eshkol said.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post