Council reaches out to community members once again for debate on tourism zoning

foto-segona-sessio-2018On Wednesday the Formentera Council convened the economy, neighbourhood, tourism and environment sections of the island's coalition of community leaders, the Consell d'Entitats, to continue discussion of a zoning proposal that involves limits on tourism. Approximately thirty representatives of the local community and civil society turned up at the gathering.

Land councillor Alejandra Ferrer spoke about the eight proposals which had been put forth and parsed the pros and cons. Of the eight, three will ultimately be added to the initial while the remaining five were disqualified for a variety of reasons.

Ferrer outlined the conclusions of the proposal. The ordinance would ban commercial activity like vacation rentals at homes constructed after the adoption in 2010 of a municipal standards code (known as “Subsidiary Guidelines”, or Normes Subsidiàries) and a strategy to regulate land-use (the Pla Territorial). The proposed changes would mean creation of a legal status for up to 50% more dwellings than those currently allowed by law, limits on the number of beds at hotels to ensure economic diversification, and targetted expansion of vacation rental permits for single-family homes to guarantee protections for Formentera's rural landscape and, at the same time, high quality, diverse rental properties for visiting tourists.

The plan would throw up roadblocks for islanders seeking to rent properties in traditionally residential areas like Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and el Pilar de la Mola to protect the local character of such areas and the rights of locals. Likewise, to ensure fair competition, quality-control plans would be introduced for those single-family homes that are licensed for rental.

Some of the measures being considered are aimed at fomenting neighbourliness between locals and tourists living in the same buildings, while other environmental measures are intended to offset the negative impact of rezoning homes as rental properties. Other measures are envisioned as well, from creating quality standards in tourism to ensuring homeowners are held to account with respect to the objectives, like with checks every five years.

A Q&A session followed during which the ins and outs of the proposed measures were clarified.

The proposed rules change will now be reviewed and voted in plenary, with an ensuing period to make comments, before the proposals are once again weighed by the Consell d'Entitats.