On June, 10th the Association of Parks in Bulgaria alerted the Municipality of Tsarevo and the regional authorities monitoring the environment and construction sites about an illegal construction site within the borders of Strandzha Nature Park. The estate is located in the Polyanite area (translation: The Fields) in the village of Sinemoretz. On June 22nd, following the Act on Access to Public Information procedures, the Association required all approved detailed site development plans within the borders of Tsarevo Municipality for the period 2017-2020.
For three months, the Municipality requested clarification from the Association about the required information. Finally, the Municipality gave access only to the plans of the Polyanite area instead of the whole territory. The Association was shocked to find out that the approved detailed site development plans for one of the last remaining wildlands along the Bulgaria Black Sea amount to 32.
The coordinates were visualized on the WWF GIS platform for the old-growth forests.
Although not all of the planned construction has started, heavy machinery is already pouring concrete. The first step to almost complete coastal urbanization has been made in June this year. Even though the construction has been stopped and the environmental inspection documented several violations, it seems there is a green light for building the new neighborhood.
Since the development sites fall within the territory of Strandzha Nature Park and two NATURA 2000 sites, the construction activities violate several national acts and the Order for designating the nature park.
The situation with the spatial planning of the Tsarevo Municipality is rather complicated. Since a new master plan for the area hasn’t been approved yet, many landowners try to avoid building restrictions from the 1998 plan by applying detailed site development plans without the appropriate environmental procedures.
Should the detailed site development plans be carried out, this would be considered the most intensive urbanization within a protected area in Bulgaria in recent years. The responsible institutions are both the current and the previous municipal administration that approved the construction licenses.
In the meantime, local people and activists keep protesting against the planned construction in the area of Sinemoretz. Their main fear is that the Polyanite area will be urbanized completely. Notably, because construction works along the Black sea coast are allowed again after the summer season is over.
 Protected Areas Act, Act on the Black Sea Coast Spatial Development, Spatial Development Act, Biological Diversity Act, Environmental Protection Act, and Law for Preservation of the Agricultural Lands
Photos: Neli Doncheva, APB