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And while the city authorities in Banja Luka are “full of” fighting against corruption, data from the field says something completely different, that is, that while you are in power, you have the right to violate the law and local regulations, without incurring any sanctions whatsoever.

infoveza.com

It sounds almost unbelievable that in the city of Banja Luka, out of a total of 110 catering establishments that temporarily occupy public space by setting up gardens in front of their premises, only 63 of them have a legally valid permit, while the rest of the establishments do this in violation of valid rules and procedures, and therefore the payment to the local budget, which receives huge amounts of money from taxes for occupying public areas, is also questionable. Namely, according to the Decision on communal order, the fee for temporary occupation of public space per 1m2 is determined by the Mayor of the City of Banjaluka, on the proposal of the administrative body responsible for communal affairs, depending on the purpose for which the public space is being occupied and the zone in which the location is found.

Foto baza

Valid price list for renting public areas in Banja Luka

Thus, according to the valid price list, for the lease of a public garden area of 30m2 in zone one for one year, it would be necessary to pay the city close to 11,000 KM!

It is also important to point out that for the evaluation of the possibility of setting up gardens in public areas, the Mayor appoints the Commission for setting up gardens within the framework of the rules specified in the Plan for the use of public areas.

Although the local authorities justify that the Department of Municipal Police keeps records on the temporary occupation of public areas and that it carries out checks, sanctions are still missing.

The municipal police department initiates all the necessary measures and actions and orders the responsible persons to obtain valid decisions about the municipal tax (by drawing up a record, after which the process of collecting the necessary documentation – title deed, copy of the cadastral plan, ZK insert, geodetic survey…), in other words, makes a decision on the removal of the contents of the garden if the same is not obtained“, according to the city administration.

However, it is interesting that the city administration does not say how many gardens were actually removed. Although our portal has been trying for several months to get information from the city about which catering facilities do not meet the conditions for setting up a garden or are in the “process of obtaining permits”, the city did not want to provide this information. As Infoveza unofficially learns, one of the reasons why the city administration hides the names of these bars is that many top members of the Party of Democratic Progress and the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats are the owners of these same bars, and therefore, it seems, the rules do not apply to them.

Last year, the portal banjaluka.com wrote about the problems that the tenants of the Community of Apartment Owners in Aleja svetog Save had because of the illegally installed gardens of the Rijeka and SOHO cafes. We checked the conditions on the ground and whether these cafes meet the conditions for setting up a garden.

According to the tenants of the Community of Apartment Owners from Aleja Svetog Save in the very centre of Banja Luka, in practice, things often work according to the principle of the catering facility “Rijeka” sp. Muhović Dario. According to them, “Rijeka” is one of the bars that benefited from this kind of city policy, and the garden of the said bar is twice as big as was foreseen in the regulation plan from 2018 (now, that regulation plan has also been cancelled).

This cafe is one of those that did not pay the rent of public space for the needs of the garden.

The tenants received information from the city administration that the City sued “Rijeka” SP Dario Muhović and demanded the payment of 3,524 KM in compensation for non-payment of public space. However, that legal entity no longer operates at that address. The cafe changed its owner and name to ATA-1 d.o.o., and the accounts of “Rijeka” SP Dario Muhović have been blocked for a long time, so there is doubt that the City will collect its claims at all“, one of the members of the Community of Apartment Owners told us.

The new owner has been operating at this address since March 2022 and until the writing of this article has not submitted an application for occupying public space, which means that he does not meet the requirements for setting up a garden and is occupying public space illegally, which makes the payment of the tax to the City questionable.

We have a situation where two legal entities do not meet the conditions for occupying a public area for the same garden. The question is, how did the municipal police, who are responsible for checking whether there are conditions for setting up a garden, allow it,” the tenants point out.

Dragan Kabić from the Center for Environmental Protection claims for the Infoveza portal that in practice almost every day we can experience that certain buildings usurp public space with their gardens, most often obstructing pedestrian traffic.

Taking this into account, the question must also be asked, what is the rationale for adopting potential solutions that allow such things? For example, Jevrejska Street, in part of the pedestrian zone, should not have gardens thrown into the space, especially not closed ones, considering the number of pedestrians who use it. Of course, it should also be noted that it is a good practice to stimulate catering in the city centre by allowing larger gardens, but in such a way that this space is taken from passive and active motorized traffic, and not from pedestrian traffic“, explains Kabić and concludes that otherwise, we can only talk about permits that benefit only private interests.

 

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