A week for amendments: residents of St. Petersburg were given seven days to study the draft master plan

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A week for amendments: residents of St. Petersburg were given seven days to study the draft master plan
A week for amendments: residents of St. Petersburg were given seven days to study the draft master plan
8 August, 19:49SocietyPhoto: Александр Дыбин
Discussion of the draft master plan began in St. Petersburg. It takes place in absentia format. Citizens can send their comments to the city planning committee website. But there is a nuance: the townspeople have only a week to make amendments. The committee accepts them until 10 August. If this is not done, there will be no other opportunity.

Alexander Dybin, St. Petersburg

Now or never

The general plan of St. Petersburg is planned to be adopted before the end of this year. Some of his materials have been available since December last year, but the authorities have only now published the entire volume of documents for several gigabytes. At the same time, the collection of feedback from residents will last only seven days, previously 35 days were allotted for this procedure. But such a truncated version is permitted by law. Against this background, both developers and local activists have become more active, who are urgently studying documents for changes in zoning or plans for the placement of new facilities.

According to the deputy of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Boris Vishnevsky , people who want to make any changes to the document should have time to send an appeal to the city planning committee before August 10. After this period, it will be almost impossible to make amendments. The legislation is arranged in such a way that after the receipt of these comments from citizens, already at the stage of consideration of the bill by deputies of the Legislative Assembly, which is expected in September-October, it will be possible to make amendments only on those issues that have already been announced by residents.

“I assess the week for amendments as a mockery of the townspeople, but this period is established by federal law, we are forced to act in these circumstances,” said Boris Vishnevsky , “citizens need to try as much as possible to familiarize themselves with the materials in a short time. It’s quite difficult to do this electronically, so it’s better to go to your district administration and see it live, study your block, your street, whether everything suits you. Do they plan to install a business zone instead of a residential zone, a building instead of a recreational zone, or build some kind of high-speed highway under the windows. All these amendments will be considered by the commission on the general plan, what it rejects, the deputies will be able to make again when the project is submitted to the legislative assembly. If you miss some issue now, it will be extremely difficult to change the situation.”

Urban defender Pavel Shapchits believes that the greatest benefit in the analysis of the master plan can come from local activists who know their territory well and can quickly find out how it was before and what is proposed to be changed.

“I think that local activists will see problem areas much better,” the expert says, “it is important to pay attention to whether there is a rezoning, an increase in the height of buildings, which allows high-rises to be weaved in already built-up areas. Several such sites have been found on Vasilyevsky Island.

Activists from the Central District have already carried out such work. According to public activist Yaroslav Kostrov , a whole list of land plots has been prepared, to which residents propose to establish a "recreational" zone that does not allow construction. Now the appeal with this list to the resident is massively sent to the urban planning committee.

“This time, the cunning people from the construction lobby and officials decided to hide themselves from the townspeople as much as possible. They hold hearings only in an online format, and they decided to accept proposals in the midst of holidays and only within 6 days, - said Yaroslav Kostrov, - we kindly ask people to spend ten minutes of their time and send their amendments. They can write their own options, or they can use our list.

The list includes 14 locations in the Central District, where the existing zoning provides for the possibility of building something on the site of green areas. In particular, it was proposed to protect the garden on the Neva from development - a small square, for which city activists fought for several years. The city authorities excluded it from the green area (this status is guaranteed to protect against development), assuming that a judicial quarter will be placed here for the relocation of the Supreme Court to St. Petersburg. But in the end, court buildings were not built here. They have almost been erected on the Cotton Island - the territory where the governor Alexander Beglov during the election campaign promised to lay out a park that would not be inferior to the capital's "Zaryadye". But after a couple of years, it became known that the park would be created in a truncated form, since a judicial quarter and the Boris Eifman Dance Theater were already being actively built on the territory.

Another example of the mass mailing of amendments with standard requirements is the work of activists from Zelenogorsk who want to transfer a forest area near Lake Shchuchye to a recreational zone. The current status allows cottage development here.

Жители Зеленогорска несколько лет пытаются сохранить лес
Photo:Сохраним лес Зеленогорска и заказник Щучье озеро/vk.com

“We have been waiting for this for almost a year,” activists say, “the master plan is the main document in zoning. Only through changes in the master plan can we turn the residential area into a forest again. To get rid of the threat of logging and construction, we need to transfer all areas to the urban forest zone - according to the new master plan, this will be the P2 zone. Earlier, by joint efforts, we sent 220 applications for the transfer of the site to the green space zone. Now we need to unite again and show that the problem of deforestation worries the residents.”

Over a hundred amendments per day

Apparently, not only activists, but also developers were waiting for the start of receiving comments on the draft master plan. During the first day, the city planning committee website received more than a hundred applications, and many of them were quite professional and signed either by entrepreneurs or legal entities. Basically, such appeals relate to construction projects, asking for permission to increase the number of storeys in certain quarters or to allow development where it is currently prohibited. For example, the owner of the Dalpiterstroy company, Arkady Skorov , sent an appeal in which he asked to transfer almost a million square meters in the south of St. Petersburg from agricultural land to a zone suitable for development. In addition, this businessman asks to be allowed to build a complex of buildings for family orphanages with a temple. And dozens of similar appeals have already been filed.

There are appeals from other authorities, in particular, the St. Petersburg Investment Committee is asking for a public business zone on Rastrelli Square. It is believed that this will make it possible to realize the idea of building the bell tower of the Smolny Cathedral. Initially, the 170-meter bell tower was designed by the architect Rastrelli, but the idea was not realized. A few years ago, the idea of completing the 18th century project and completing the skyscraper began to be promoted in St. Petersburg.

170-метровую колокольню пока можно увидеть только на картинах
Photo:Фонд содействия восстановлению объектов истории и культуры в Санкт-Петербурге

Deputy Boris Vishnevsky believes that within the framework of the discussion of the general plan, this project will not receive support for a number of reasons.

“The idea of building a bell tower violates the law on the protection of cultural heritage,” the deputy says, “there is a historical panorama protected by law, and without changing this law there is nothing to discuss this project. In addition, the general plan does not solve the issues of height, height regulations are established by the land use rules of the general plan only functional. From the same series, a proposal to build a building 400 meters high on the Constitution Square, which we found among the amendments filed. I see it as more important to achieve the abolition of plans for laying a road through a specific park. Now they are proposing to make it in the form of a tunnel, but even such work will kill this park.”

According to the city defender Pavel Shapchits, it is still difficult to say whose proposals are more - from developers or citizens.

“Developers are dealing with these issues on a planned basis, they were prepared,” the expert says, “there are also harmful amendments, for example, when someone has a plot for summer cottages, but wants to build an apartment building. Or the dacha is located in a recreational area, and they ask to change it for individual residential development. I would submit an amendment on the Okhtinsky Cape, where the president instructed to consider the issue of creating a reserve, and it can only be created on the basis of a sightseeing place, which means that a recreational zone is needed there. An interesting plot with the construction of a public garden in Kuznechny Lane. The governor promised to make a recreational zone here before the elections, but this was not done in the draft general plan. Why didn't he keep his promise?

In general, the general plan of St. Petersburg involves a turn to the south. It is in this direction that the mass construction of housing and points of attraction in the form of a new campus of St. Petersburg State University and the ITMO Highpark project, as well as social infrastructure and roads, is envisaged. This story also has detractors. Residents of the village of Alexandrovskaya massively send amendments against plans to build a road through their settlement to the satellite town of Yuzhny.

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