At the last session, the City Council of Zenica adopted the Regulatory Plan "Business and Recreational-Tourist Zone Zenica-South". In this way, the city councillors gave the green light to future investments in this area.
In 2017, Žurnal wrote about the fact that the construction of a business zone would be planned in this very place - near the highway exit, in the immediate vicinity of the recently built bridge over the Bosna River that connects the entrance loop for the highway and the main Zenica city highway.
Let us briefly remind you that Mersija Kasumović, the wife of Zenica's mayor Fuad Kasumović, owns several plots of land in this area, most of which were purchased between 2006 and 2016. The regulatory plan has been adopted - the value of the land automatically increases. And the value could grow even more, because according to everything, it is the City of Zenica that will build the necessary infrastructure with citizens' money - new roads, bridges, water supply, sewerage, public lighting…
An ideal opportunity for plot owners, including the Kasumović family, is to (re)sell the land at high prices. Back then, Fuad Kasumović, the biggest proponent of the establishment of a business zone, while commenting on the allegations that the City of Zenica cannot buy that land due to a conflict of interests, announced such a possibility.
"Of course, the City of Zenica won't buy it, I'm not crazy, but someone will", said Kasumović.
City councillor Almir Babajić (SDP BiH) tells Žurnal that this business zone is Zenica's greatest asset, because it is, as he points out, the most attractive land in BiH at the moment. However, he warns about the decision of the City Council from a few years ago, when it was decided that communal infrastructure would be built with budget money.
"We will be champions because we made the largest number of millionaires and multi-millionaires on that land in the shortest time. In what way? Anyone who owns land, when their road, sewerage, and lighting is done... it increases the price of the land not twice, but triple, quadruple", says Babajić.
Zenica architect Boris Britvar, from the "Movement for Change" group, is of a similar opinion:
"There is obvious wrongdoing in the sense that by adopting the regulatory plan, the agricultural land in question is turned into construction land, thereby significantly increasing its value. However, its value increases enormously through infrastructure construction activities. All this will be paid for by the citizens of Zenica, and in the end, privileged individuals will benefit."
DECISIONS ARE MADE WITHOUT AN ADOPTED URBAN PLAN
This is not the only disputed detail when it comes to this regulatory plan and the land in question. First of all, it is questionable whether there are certain permits/consent/opinions for the adopted regulatory plan - from the Cantonal Administration of Civil Protection, the Ministry of Spatial Planning of the ZDK... and what was also raised at the City Council session itself.
Earlier, the Zenica group "Movement for Change" also warned about these things. We have already written in detail about them and their activities, as well as the complex issue of spatial planning and urbanism in Zenica.
Let us briefly remind you that the City of Zenica has not adopted a current urban plan! The last one was adopted in the 80s of the last century and is outdated according to all parameters. Although there were several initiatives to finally adopt a new urban plan, it was never done.
On the other hand, the Spatial Plan was adopted at the end of 2017. For the sake of clarification, spatial plans are planning documents of the highest order and they are the basis for adopting urban plans, which, let's remind you, has not yet been done in Zenica.
Furthermore, the urban plan is the basis for adopting regulatory plans. If Zenica does not have an urban plan, then how are regulatory plans adopted, and what is this one in connection with the formation of a new business zone?
In short, a "loophole in the law" was found, so city expert commissions were formed to give their opinion for certain locations in terms of urban planning and technical conditions. Boris Britvar previously warned about this:
"Zenica has that commission and there were clearly abuses there. Permits were issued for every pub and building on city green areas..."
Representative in the Zenica-Doboj canton Assembly Sanja Renić (Bosnia-Herzegovina initiative – Kasumović Fuad), who was previously a city councilwoman, is also dissatisfied with the way in which spatial planning and urbanism are approached:
"Everything has its own order, and here it was completely disrupted. Specifically, in Zenica, we have adopted a Spatial Plan, after which, after six months, an urban plan had to be proposed to the City Council. But we still don't have that urban plan. However, we see that buildings are being built, that it is being legalized, without an urban plan. I don't know in what order all of this is in."
By the way, as a city councillor, Sanja Renić often spoke about these problems, illogicalities in spatial planning, the construction lobby... However, in the end, she still ended up in the party of mayor Fuad Kasumović. To our question whether she still stands by the views expressed earlier, and whether she has discussed these topics with Kasumović, she says:
"Yes, of course, but I did not discuss this with Mr Kasumović. The topics were cantonal, that is, there was only one topic, which was to change the majority in ZDK. That is the only topic between Kasumović and me. Topics related to urban planning and spatial plans were not on the table."
She also says that she has not discussed this with the coalition partners either, but, she states, she will insist on these topics as well:
"Everything that happens has to do with the spatial plan. There is no real spatial plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation, the canton... That's why we have what we have, that investors come and destroy our resources because we have no protection, neither through documents nor people."
“MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE” CONTINUES ITS STRUGGLE
Those from the Zenica group "Movement for Change", which for a long time has been leading a legal and institutional fight regarding the issue of spatial planning and urbanism, pointing out all the illegalities and illogicalities in the process of adopting spatial planning documentation, are dissatisfied with the adopted regulatory plan.
"In a professional sense, the main objection is that we want to leave the last serious space, the last serious land that Zenica has, to people who are engaged in the real estate trade and we leave it up to them to build what they want there, according to their own discretion", they point out from this group.
They believe that the adopted plan is just a continuation of bad solutions related to spatial planning, and they state that they will continue their fight, with the hope that the competent prosecutor's offices will finally do something concrete on the basis of the filed criminal charges:
"This is a fight against the model that is applied throughout the Federation, where construction lobbies achieve exceptional benefits through interventions in spatial planning documentation. We expect that the prosecutor's office will be persistent in this process."
They state that they are facing different pressures, and once again appeal to the decision-makers and competent institutions - from the Commission for the Preservation of National Monuments of BiH, to other institutions at the cantonal and city level - to finally take this problem seriously and react to, as he often calls it, urban chaos, both in Zenica and in other municipalities and cities.