First-ever islandwide general plan being drawn up in Saaremaa

Kuressaare, Saaremaa.
Kuressaare, Saaremaa. Source: Government Communications Office.

Saare County is currently drawing up their first islandwide general plan to plan out the next 10 years of developments and regulation on Estonia's largest island. The first version of the plan received more than 80 written amendment proposals.

15 public discussions about the ideas written up in the general plan were held in Saaremaa, leading to 80 written proposals and an abundance of additional ideas, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

The most intriguing topics regarding Saaremaa's future touched on wind farms, construction opportunities and a motoarena. The latter, planned near Kuressaare Airport, has made locals anxious.

Andres Tamm, resident of Kuressaare, said: "We've fought against it for ten years. The noise and dust it generates is completely unacceptable."

Deputy Mayor of Saaremaa Jaan Leivategija said the general plan is designed for compromise and they are certainly not looking for any conflicts with locals.

Leivategija explained: "An idea gathering process preceded this plan with many proposals brought up and there was a one for a motoarena. And it is likely the arena might not even be developed. We are looking at the region and it does not necessarily have to be in the city."

As one of the only local governments to do so, the general plan also determines that windmills or wind farms must be developed at least a kilometer away of residential areas.

Saare municipality architect Mark Grimitliht explained: "We do not wish to erect windmills wherever and we also do not wish to start the planning process from scratch. We want to determine what the areas and conditions are in the general plan. And the criteria will remain: at least 1000 m from the closest residential building."

In addition, the general plan will also forbid construction in private forests, away from villages. A preference of already developed settlements is emphasized.

Leivategija noted: "And that is how it will likely be in the future, all real estate plots will not have the right of superficies"


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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