The media often release news on unauthorized constructions within coastal protection strips, the objects of protected areas etc. Massiveness of such constructions indicates that in Ukraine there is no state architectural control although there is a body that is authorized to perform it. This is State Architectural and Construction Inspectorate (hereinafter SACI), which should act in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Regulation of Municipal Construction.”
Just to remind, control is not observation over what is happening. The main function of control is to prevent a possible violation of certain rights and standards through the monitoring of the current situation, analyze the causes of violations of rules and regulations and take concrete action to prevent such violations. Thus, the effective work of a controlling authority is proved not by a large number of recorded violations and paid fines but, on the contrary, by the absence of violations and violators.
Failure of the SACI to perform the controlling function is illustrated by a large number of unauthorized developments in various regions of Ukraine. These construction works destroy property rights of Ukrainian people to natural resources because they block access to water bodies, cut down forests and destroy protected areas of Ukraine.
A specific example of the lack of control in the Odessa region is implementation of a construction project on the Sand Spit of the Black Sea located in Tatarbunary district of Odessa region. The Sand Spit forms a system of estuaries, which are Ramsar sites and belong to the National Park “Tuzlovski estuaries.” Estuaries are under special protection in accordance with international and national law.
Because the Sand Spit is 55 km long and100 meters wide, according to the Land and Water Codes, the land is coastal protection strip, the beach, and has limited use. It is prohibited to build houses and resorts on this land because such human activities have negative impact on sand spits and estuaries.
Back in July, 2014, there were recorded first illegal construction works on the sand spit. Complaints and appeals were submitted. The SACI issued orders to to stop the illegal activity. However, as of today the orders have not been implemented and the construction works continue on the particularly valuable sand spit, which is an indication of omissions of the SACI that failed to perform full state architectural and construction control.
It should be emphasized that it is prohibited to build resorts on the sand spit, and therefore, unauthorized construction in the future cannot be legalized. This means that the SACI should perform state architectural and construction control and take steps to demolish the building because it violates the law, construction and health standards.
And what is the position of the SACI? Their position proves that this is deliberate manipulation of law and willful failure to carry out their functions of control because in their letter of April 18, 2016 № 1015-05 / 1-6100 the SACI recognizes the fact of unauthorized construction, however avoids performing its functions and passes them over to law enforcement bodies.
EPL has initiated a strategic lawsuit (hereinafter – the SL) in the interests of the people of Ukraine. The purpose of the SL is to show omissions of the controlling bodies such as the State Architectural and Construction Inspectorate, which is silently watching unauthorized construction works, save from destruction particularly valuable areas of Ukraine – the sand spit of the Black Sea. Through this strategic litigation EPL puts into action the current Law of Ukraine “On regulation of urban development”, in particular art. 38, which states that in case of failure to implement orders of the SACI, the SACI files a lawsuit to enforce implementation of its orders.
This strategic litigation proves inefficiency of the existing control system, lack of supervision, and therefore the need for significant reforms of the system of environmental governance.