18 Hotels proposed in one week as part of resolution to stop new hotels

Venice. The Administration has expanded the resolution regarding the change of use for buildings. The opposition attacks: “We want an investigation”

By Alberto Vitucci

VENICE. Three words added at the last minute, in the form of an administrative amendment. And so the trap is sprung. In time during which the new resolution regarding changes of use was about to come in to force, fully 18 projects of new hotels and expansions were presented in only one week. More than the whole prior year. And now according to the new rule they must be reviewed. The opposition is crying scandal, and announces an “administrative” investigation.

The provisions are part of resolution number 25, approved last June 15 by the City Council, entitled “Provisions for the care of the physical, functional and social integrity of the Old City, rule change 18 to the Plan for the Vprg Measures”; in essence this is the rule which according to the Administration blocks the changes in use from residence to tourist location. This rule change does not apply however, as specified in the original text, “to measures which at the date of the present change, are part of requests which have already been formally presented to the City”.

After the Administration’s amendment, to the “requests” were added “declarations, notifications or communications concerning the establishment or enlargement of hotel or complimentary business activities”. “It makes a big difference”, accused Renzo Scarpa, a Councilor of the Mixed Group (ex Lista Brugnaro) which has presented a request for access to the acts. “Now we want clarification”, he said, “we have the responsibility to ask for this. We will seek more information about all these cases”. The chorus of critics includes all the forces of political opposition; Nicola Pellicani (Pd), Davide Scano (M5S), Rocco Fiano (Lista Casson).

Scano, Pellicani and Casson are pointing the finger at the “strange mechanism” which has allowed 18 businesses to present in only one week (from 8 to 15 June), the period during with the resolution was being processed, proposals for new hotels, vacation homes, room rentals, tourist lodgings, expansions and guest houses. More drops in a sea of resorts for tourists. “Almost all”, notes Scano, “are construction permits, that is, obligatory authorizations when there is a change of use. Only three are “Scia”, professional declarations that communicate the beginning of work. New hotels in Cannaregio, San Polo, Castello, Santa Croce”. These will be added to projects already underway at the date of the resolution’s approval, presented in December of 2015 and the first three months of 2017.

Other exemptions were granted for the ex-furnaces De Majo and Lag at Murano, and to Lista Brugnaro City Councilor Marta Locatelli for the block in Calle delle Razze at San Marco. “This a business which requires clarification”, said Pellicani, “in reality this resolution has not blocked the change of use, but has produced the opposite effect, given the 18 projects presented in one week. Then it has introduced a principle of discretion given to the majority in the City Council. There are those who can build hotels, and those who cannot. Marta Locatelli has opened the way”. “It raises the question”, said Rocco Fiano, “where did such benevolence from UNESCO towards the City and the Government come from? Have they evaluated what type of impact this new hotel activity will have on the city?”

Ottavio Serena, Councilor of the Mixed Group and ex-General of the Carabinieri, added: “We must shed light on this business”, he said, “because with this change the buildings have become more valuable”. “There is nothing mysterious”, replied Da Martin, “we have added this to avoid complaints. 18 filings in one week? We have tried to quickly do what we could to avoid this. One wonders instead what happened in the previous decades”.

The resolution regarding change of use was approved by the Council on 15 June: 20 votes in favor (Lista Brugnaro, FL and Lega), 7 against (PD, M5s, Gruppo Misto, Lista Casson).

Source: La Nuova di Venezia, 15-7-2017

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