The Knesset plenum approved the second and third reading of the Planning and Building Process for the Fast Tracking of Residences Bill (ordinance) (amendment), 2013 submitted by the government. The bill will was discussed by the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, chaired by MK Miri Regev (Likud Beitenu).
The bill, which received final approval, will extend the period of the law for 22 months, until August 2015. Additionally, it will expand the scope of the law, so that plans can be approved on the National Housing Committee track even when up to 60% of the plan is on private land or for a clearing and construction plan. Similarly, privately owned land will qualify for national housing on land that is between 40% and 80% is publicly owned land. Additionally, 25% of any plan talked about in the National Housing Committee will be required to include small apartments, or apartments for rent or affordable housing for rent. For plans that are clear and build plans, in light of their unique characteristics will only need 10% of the new apartments to meet these requirements. The Interior Minister or the director of the ministry can approve of exceptions.
The new law will also require the setting of a time period from the approval of the plan to its completion. Normal National Housing Committee plans will need to be completed within two and a half years from the approval of the plan and within 4 years for clearing and building projects. Furthermore, the Israel Lands Authority will not be able to veto National Housing Committee Bills.
During the final committee debate a number of reservations were raised, principally from people who wanted to shorten the time table, increase the number of affordable residences and implement public housing, but the reservations were rejected. MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), one of the main critics of the law said that he welcomes the social change that is carried out by the law, but he emphasized that the law is problematic due to the fact that it hurts the principles of planning and building in Israel by allowing the submission of plans from private land, something that will raise corruption issues. He emphasized that there is still a great importance to promoting public housing.
Speaker of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, MK Miri Regev (Likud Beitenu) said that ”The law will allow the building of infrastructure without detailed plans. This bill is good. It comes on the heels of the Supreme Court`s decision and takes into account the needs of all groups, including the weaker parts of society. The law gives a real answer for questions like affordable housing, rent oversight and renting in the free market. From now on 25% of every building plan will include affordable housing…This is a real law that doesn`t just use slogans but actually addresses the affordable housing problem.”