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Church's plan for solar park blocked by red tape

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_05/03/2012_431294 ekathimerini.com , Monday March 5, 2012 (22:26) Church s plan for solar park blocked
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2012
      http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_05/03/2012_431294

      ekathimerini.com , Monday March 5, 2012 (22:26)

      Church's plan for solar park blocked by red tape

      The government has hit back at claims by the Church of Greece that its
      plans to build a solar park have been caught up in red tape by saying
      that the intended site is actually public land, which is due to be
      reforested.

      “State authorities challenge the ownership rights that the Pendeli
      Monastery claims to have,” the Environment Ministry said in a statement,
      which added that church officials have been informed that the land in
      question is listed as public forestland.

      “A prerequisite for the investment to go ahead is for the ownership
      issue to be settled,” said the ministry.

      The statement goes on to say that even if the ownership issue is
      resolved in favor of the monastery, which is located in northern Athens,
      then the question of whether the site in question is located is
      forestland also needs to be settled.

      The ministry said that the state had listed the area to be reforested
      following several wildfires between 1998 and 2009. Once land is set
      aside for reforestation, the law prevents any construction from taking
      place. However, this rule has been broken repeatedly in the past.

      The Environment Ministry went on to point out that the monastery has not
      applied for a license to build on the land, suggesting that the Church
      may have been looking for favorable treatment from the government.

      A spokesman for the Church told Kathimerini on Monday that Archbishop
      Ieronymos had been encouraged to proceed with the plans for a solar park
      by previous Prime Minister George Papandreou and current Premier Lucas
      Papademos.

      Meanwhile, Ombudsman Calliope Spanou on Monday gave a deposition to
      financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis in connection to the rents paid by
      her organization. Peponis has launched an investigation into the rents
      paid by state bodies.

      The Ombudsman’s rent for offices owned by the Vatopedi Monastery, which
      is located on Mount Athos, is about 100,000 euros a month. Spanou said
      she has been asking since last year for the rent to be reduced but the
      government’s Land Service, which is responsible for the negotiations,
      has failed to deliver yet.
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