Port master plans in Greece can now alter the planning regime
What are the changes in the planning of projects deployed in the country's two major ports, due to the new law.
Port masterplans were granted full priority and have been upgraded in relation to existing urban and city plans in the surrounding urban areas of the Greek ports.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy has introduced for Parliament vote a draft bill entitled "Building conditions, construction, permitted land uses for data centers, zoning and urban planning regulations, utilization of Green Fund resources and other environmental and energy provisions", according to which -upon its approval- master plans submitted for the utilization of Greek ports of international and national interest will be approved through presidential decrees.
In Greece, there is a total of 16 ports of international interest, namely the ports of Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Volos, Patras, Igoumenitsa, Kavala, Alexandroupolis, Heraklion, Corfu, Elefsina, Lavrio, Rafina, Mykonos, Mytilene, Rhodes, and Souda, Chania. There also 16 ports of national interest, which are the ports of Argostoli, Zakynthos, Thira, Kalamata, Katakolo, Corinth, Kyllini, Kos, Lagos, Paros, Preveza, Rethymnon, Vatheos Samos, Syros, Chalkidos, and Chios. It should be noted that master plans are drawn up only for the utilization of these two port categories.
According to Mr. Kostas Fatsis, Attorney Partner at AKL Law Firm, what is being defined in the draft law does not differ substantially from what was in force in the 2022 law. What is now being clarified is the prioritization of the presidential decree approving a port development plan, in relation to existing urban plans. It is now expressly provided that a port redevelopment plan can modify the existing urban planning, as far as it concerns an onshore port zone, and this has legal significance in case of overlapping boundaries between the onshore port zone - which is under the control of a potential investor - and areas that fall under approved city plans. In addition, the complex administrative procedure for the issuance of the said presidential decrees is being clarified and supplemented accordingly, and individual issues of compensation due to severance are being regulated. Finally, the possibility of a presidential decree issuance is being introduced, after a proposal by the Ministers of Environment and Energy and Shipping and Island Policy, which will approve a special building regulation for the construction of buildings within the land zone of ports.
It will now be possible to have land use and building design changes included in master plans, Mr. Manolis Baltas, Civil Engineer CEO of REDEPLAN explains to RED. And this becomes particularly interesting, combined with the fact that those 32 Greek ports of international and national interest are mainly located within urban areas. The new law also expands the scope of action of the Ministries involved, that will now be the ministries of Infrastructure, Transport, Environment, Shipping and Culture due to the land zone involved.
What are the changes in the planning of projects deployed in the country's two major ports, due to the new law
The Board of Directors of the Thessaloniki Port Authority decided to re-announce the Tender for Pier 6 of the ThPA. According to RED sources familiar with ThPA S.A., the decision was made mainly due to the revision of the Final Study File and the tender documents, in order to accelerate the implementation of the project, by receiving the optimal financial offers.
It is noteworthy mentioning that - according to the same sources - the approval and issuance of the Presidential Decree (PD) for the new updated Master Plan and the Strategic Environmental Impact Study (SEIS) of the port of Thessaloniki is due shortly.
The Piraeus Port Authority's masterplan was granted full approval and therefore won't be affected in any way by the draft law submitted by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, according to comments made by the Authority's executives to RED. Given the recent decision of the Council of State's and the renewed approvals received for the permits that had already been issued, the investment is progressing smoothly. Meanwhile, new developments are in the organization's plans, but none of them mature enough to announce. Among them, there are the reconstructions of re-used warehouse shells, such as the building offered to the Ministry of Culture to house the Museum of Marine Antiquities, while there are also discussions for the PPA "Pagoda", as a potential development of a five-star hotel.