Volodymyrska Battle: Uzhgorod citizens are fighting against the construction of high-rise building on the children playground

Already for six months the residents of the house number 28 on the Volodymyrska street in Uzhgorod have been fighting with the city government for their own surrounding area. On 6 of the 9 hectares the city hall without the consent of the residents permitted to build high-rises with underground garages, arbitrarily cut down trees and destroyed a children’s playground.


This year in January residents of Volodymyrska, 28, came out of their apartments, and saw a fence, building materials and excavators. That is when they were informed that the local area, for which, by the way, they continue to pay (as evidenced by the bills for utilities) had been sold and the new owner was going to erect a modern high-rise building.


"They showed us a fake project that they were going to build a five-story 24 apartment house with underground garages here. But this is our land according to the law, areas that can not be transferred to private ownership. Every day about 120 people – pensioners, kids, Afghans, disabled, neighbors – rested here. We did not allow to install a fence, immediately filed with the court, appealed to the prosecutor, mayor, Security Service… The court banned any construction works until everything is clarified. And on June 25 the court decided that our rights are not violated, because we could not prove that it is our lot … "


In order to build a house here, Uzhgorod City Hall first had to arrange a public hearing, and only with the consent of the residents of Volodymyrska street they could introduce changes to the General Plan. The project for new building, said the residents, violates all construction, health and fire regulations, information about the work has not been disclosed.


Residents say they have repeatedly been threatened, advised not to pry, told that whether they want it to or not, the building would be there. Near trash container for two months the residents saw an unfamiliar car and are convinced that they were watched. And the widow of the honorary citizen of Uzhgorod Ivan Oznobkin, Nina Vasilivna, was robbed.

Only after the contractor Marianna Kotsipak sued the residents of Volodymyrska, 28 for obstruction in construction works we finally get our hands on all the documents and learned the truth. It turned out that the land was transferred to private ownership in August 2010: by decisions № 243 and № 1532 City Council approved the urban study and restrictions of private housing and transferred the land on Volodymyrska to Agatha Kopryva who lives in the village of Storozhnica in Uzhgorod District, on Tykha street, 55. And a few days before the local elections, the then mayor Ratushnyak changed the purpose of the site – from individual to mixed residential with commercial use.


Now residents of Volodymyrska, 28 are busy with court proceedings. Recently, the plaintiffs and representatives of the city council proposed settlement agreement. They said that they would build a high-rise anyway, but would consider the suggestions of the local residents. "They brought a new project, but it is still no good, distance from house to house is 30 meters – said Ivan Chmereka. – We have 24 meters from the fence to the house. What kind of settlement are they talking about? Our position is clear: we are strongly against any construction on the playground."


September 17 the residents again are going in court. They say that they will fight to the end, but never going to give up playground and the favorite green zone. They are now legally savvy and know that the Law of Ukraine "On regulation of urban development" defines the land taken from them as part of land areas that, according to Article 83 of the Land Code, may not be transferred to private ownership. And the law "On the improvement of human settlements" prohibits to destroy trees and store building materials. Superficies and servitude agreements also contradict to the current city master plan and the requirements of the Ukrainian legislation.

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