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Press release Passauer Neue Presse: Massive building project, massive objections

"Am Steinkart" 44 new apartments are to be built - 14 citizens submit comments - 72 pages weighed up

Never before has a planned building project provoked such opposition from residents. The building committee of the city of Bad Griesbach had to deal with 72 pages of objections in its most recent meeting, 14 citizens had submitted them to the town hall. They all unite the refusal of a housing development in their neighborhood. In direct proximity to the forest, four new residential structures with a total of 44 residential units are to be built "Am Steinkart".

"In idyllic Bad Griesbach, we want to realize a sophisticated new construction project in an attractive location with a panoramic view of the Alps ...", advertises Bayernareal Wohnbau GmbH and Co KG from Moosinning for the construction project.

Originally, two high-rise buildings were planned there

The site is just under 6600 square meters in size and has lain fallow since the development plan was drawn up in 1971, while single-family homes were built on large plots of land all around it. More than 50 years ago, residential buildings were already planned on this site, albeit in a different architecture: two building complexes, each with eight stories.

The new designs no longer have this kind of height: instead of eight stories, there will be only three, but a total of four buildings. This also requires the definition of new building boundaries, and the permissible number of apartments is to be increased from 36 to 44. The parking space requirement will also increase from 1.3 per unit to two.

Authorities welcome building project

There is a massive shortage of living space in Germany. The new plans meet with approval from the relevant authorities: "This is in line with the LEP goals of interior development and redensification," says the statement from the urban development department at the district administration office. And also the government of Lower Bavaria has no objections against this form of the Nachverdichtung.

Quite in contrast to the residents, who have turned to the city with their objections in large numbers, some of them represented by lawyers. They argue, for example, that the planned 44 residential units practically mean a tripling of the number of residential units on a narrow residential street that is not designed for this purpose. Veronika Sedlmeier from the city's building department, however, emphasized when reading out the consideration that multi-family houses - two of them, eight stories each - were already planned for the parcel in 1971.

Subsequently, the planning was adapted, from then on up to four buildings with up to four floors were allowed, later a more balanced multi-family development, which corresponds to the Bavarian State Development Plan (LEP). The planned duplex parking spaces in the underground garage are also a point in the objections - "but the underground garage is closed and only accessible to the respective owners. In addition, the duplex parking spaces are independently accessible parking spaces under building code."

Street will be widened to six meters

Another argument against the building project: The narrow road that so far opens up the residential area. In the further planning, according to the building authority, a standard cross-section of the public traffic area - roadway and sidewalk - with a width of six meters should be included. Furthermore, a traffic survey was carried out, which showed a maximum traffic volume of 253 vehicles in 24 hours, but all immission limits both during the day and at night are not exceeded, on the contrary, even undercut.

The fact that house 1 does not comply with the distance areas to the neighboring property was also raised as an argument. Here, so Veronika Sedlmeier, the building boundary is accordingly more narrowly set, in order to be able to prove the distance surfaces on the own property. Also within the four buildings the distances fit. The specifications for paving with lawn joint paving are also met.

Major concern: shading of neighboring properties

Other concerns of the residents: the shadowing and the oppressive effect on the surrounding area. The experts' response to this: "A comparison of the previous and new plans shows that the ridge on House 1 is exactly 75 centimeters higher than before, but the ridge direction of the newly planned - flatter - hipped roof runs in a west-east direction, which leads to less shading overall than the steeper gable roof with a north-south ridge that was originally planned there. The buildings were also moved further away from the existing development to the east, reducing shading."

Shading also does not increase to the west. Furthermore - this was also an objection raised - there would be no exceeding of the immission limits specified in the Traffic Noise Protection Ordinance. In addition, the parking space key of two parking spaces per residential unit counteracts parked cars on the residential streets, "an improvement compared to the previous development plan with 1.3".

More noise and light pollution?

Further criticism causes the external parking lots, which would be directly at the forest border, one fears an increase of the CO2 values, the noise and the light pollution. However, according to the building authority, it is planned that the carport will be closed on the side facing the forest and, if at all, will only be illuminated from the inside. In addition, large-scale exterior lighting is not planned.

Residents also fear the massive sealing will overload the drainage system. But there is a rainwater retention basin that has an emergency overflow through which the rainwater is routed in an orderly manner by pipe to the city's combined sewer. In the event of an overflow, a 30-centimeter-high wall would be built along the western property line to protect the lower lying neighboring property from urban flash floods.

All other properties would not be affected because the road "Am Steinkart" has a cross slope in the north direction in the corresponding areas as well as a steep longitudinal slope in the west direction - a runoff of the stormwater onto other properties would be very unlikely. All stormwater detention was calculated based on a ten-year rain event and sized accordingly.

Does it even need that many apartments?

The cost of the project was also a concern for one resident, who expressed doubt that the developer would have the financial resources necessary to complete the project. "The creditworthiness of a project developer," says the city, is not relevant to the development plan or to the consideration. Another objection: it is questionable whether the increase in the number of apartments in the community is even necessary. This is where the demographics mirror of the State Office for Statistics comes in handy for the city: The population in Bad Griesbach will grow by 5.1 percent by 2039, and in addition, the demand for smaller apartments for one to two people is growing, especially among people over 65.

Despite the large number of objections to the project, Mayor Jürgen Fundke reiterated his support: "I was in favor of this building project from the very beginning, and I still am, because I cannot be against it from a legal point of view at all. There is a valid development plan there that is legally binding," and so he is forbidden to be against it, "as hard as it might be for one or the other neighbor."

Alois Immerfall spoke of a visually successful building project, "and as a member of the building committee, one is also bound by the guidelines of the authorities. We are clearly adhering to the guidelines here."

"A massive increase in people and vehicles".

Of course, there is a legally binding development plan there, Werner Münichsdorfner objected, and he could also understand that a denser development was desired. But "one may not take also the objections of the adjoining owners, which are here very massive, lightly. I also live in this settlement area, 70 houses with large plots were built there, so that one has perhaps also a little peace in the age. And what is coming there now in terms of additional development is for me such a massive increase in people and vehicles - something that the area can only tolerate very badly. The traffic is going to double there, it's immense. That's why I'm going to vote against it."

Bernhard Gruber spoke of a record number of objections. Josef Fischer could understand the concerns of the residents, "and yes, they are dominant structures. But in the end, times have changed, everyone talks about eating up space - and so now people are building upwards." In addition, he said, everyone who bought a plot of land there knew that the development plan also allowed larger buildings on this site. "But whether you really need 44 apartments, I can't and don't have to decide," said Fischer, who tried to see added value for residents in the project: "There's a sidewalk coming and the street is even being made wider."

The vote in the building committee ended with 5:3 in favor of weighing in and approving the amended draft of the development plan. Now it will go to public display again.


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