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Our Mayor is on a mission to destroy our development

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Our Mayor is on a mission to destroy our development

Мнениеот harley1 » 08 Апр 2013, 21:56

Hi,

I hope someone can help suggest a way out of this very painful predicament.

In 2006 I purchased a villa on the Country Club Golf & Spa development in Dolna Banya, Bulgaria. Golf Club Ibar was to be the first Jack Nicklaus design PGA golf course in South East Europe and many onsite facilities were to be constructed. Unfortunately, the complex is far from complete, the permissions for the facilities are not being granted, the golf course is facing oblivion and many of the investors have nothing to show for their money.

Construction at Golf Club Ibar started in 2005 with the full support of the Bulgarian government. Progress was good for 3 years, and then in 2008, not long after the election of the new Mayor of Dolna Banya, Mr Vladimir Dzhambazov, the problems began. For over 4 years now Mr Dzhambazov appears to have done everything possible to halt progress. In Aug 11, Mr Dzhambazov announced that the golf course had no planning permission and that it had been removed from the town plan. This decision ignored the fact that when construction of the golf course began, no golf course planning legislation existed in Bulgaria. The golf course is a fundamental reason why I and many others invested. I knew that there would be risks with an investment of this nature, however, I was reassured and convinced enough to commit on the basis that the development was backed by the Dolna Banya Municipality as 30% shareholders, and by the government via their First Class Investor Certificate scheme. I know that many of the other investors (approx 150) also saw it this way. We certainly didn’t think that the Mayor of a municipality from a European Union member state would be allowed to put into reverse a development that had long since been approved by his predecessor.

Further evidence of support was in Sep 05 when the previous Mayor of Dolna Banya, Mr Ivanov, attended the first digging ceremony and together with the Governor of Sofia region, made the first digging of the practise area and of the first villas (http://golfclubibar.com/en/news.html#18). Surely not something that would have happened had everything not been legal and above board.

Even prior to this, on 15 Jun 05 the Executive directors of Ibar signed the agreement for the design of the golf course with the Executive Vice president of Nicklaus design. This event ceremony was honoured by the attendance of H.E. Petar Stojanov – President of Bulgaria 1997-2002, Mr Todor Ivanov – then Mayor of Dolna Banya, all members of the Municipality council of Dolna Banya, members of the diplomatic corp, as well as 420 distinguished guests. Once again, the dignitaries present surely supported this legitimate enterprise.

The last significant event that I will mention is from 2008, when a further assurance of support was provided, in the form of a declaration by the Members of the Municipal Council of the Dolna Banya Municipality. It read – “Today, June 26th 2008, we the Members of the Municipal Council of the Dolna Banya Municipality, with regards to the existing social tension, declare that as share-holder in "Golf Club Ibar" AD have supported and will continue to support the construction of Golf Club Ibar 1 and any other investment initiative in the Dolna Banya Municipality as per the existing legal procedures and investors' actions provided for in the legislation. We will work together for the successful completion of the project in order to affirm the Municipality as a tourist destination attracting future investments, which will guarantee the livelihood and quality of life of the people of Dolna Banya". Tourism has actually been enshrined as the overall development vision of Dolna Banya Municipality, yet I am yet to see any evidence of that!

What is obvious is that there has been no support, and this statement looks like just another lie to mislead investors. As stated above, quite the contrary has taken place, as it is impossible to have “successful completion of the project” without a golf course!

The main purpose of this post is to find out if there is any Bulgarian authority that I can submit an appeal to, with the aim of forcing the Mayor/Municipality to issue the developer with golf course planning permission. Alternatively, is there a higher authority who can process golf course planning applications, effectively cutting the Mayor out of the loop? Lastly, can you tell me what legal entity could best deal with this situation, me as an individual, the Bulgarian limited company that I setup to acquire the property (necessary as land ownership was involved) or the NGO that was setup by the developments residents association, of which I am a member (http://www.gcira.com/)?

I very much appreciate your time and consideration in this matter and am grateful for any information or advice that you can provide.

Regards
harley1
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Re: Our Mayor is on a mission to destroy our development

Мнениеот harley1 » 10 Апр 2013, 00:53

Hi,

I just wanted to add a few questions to my last post.

Judging by the events outlined in my last post it seems quite clear to me that the golf course had been approved by the Governor of Sofia Region and the Mayor of Dolna Banya. Years later, Mr Dzhambazov decided that everything is illegal, why? Can he just ignore the decision made by the previous government officials? What about the investors like me who paid for a golf course? What does Bulgarian and EU law say about this u-turn? Will investors now be able to sue the Municipality? Please don't forget, in 2005 there was no legislation for golf courses in Bulgaria.

Please help me to understand the logic to this situation and how the situation can be improved.

All opinions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks everyone
harley1
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Re: Our Mayor is on a mission to destroy our development

Мнениеот pianka » 21 Апр 2013, 18:01

Hey there, link might be of interest to you.
https://www.facebook.com/dolna.banya.protesting?fref=ts
pianka
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Re: Our Mayor is on a mission to destroy our development

Мнениеот harley1 » 06 Май 2013, 23:17

pianka написа:Hey there, link might be of interest to you.
https://www.facebook.com/dolna.banya.protesting?fref=ts


Hi Pianka, thank you for bringing the Facebook page to my attention and for posting the link in both forums. I don't suppose you have any connections to the Dolna Banya area do you? I have contacted the Ombudsman to have him investigate the scandalous situation there and remain hopeful that he can help. Do you think I am being too optimistic? :wink:

Regards

Harley
harley1
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Re: Our Mayor is on a mission to destroy our development

Мнениеот pianka » 07 Май 2013, 02:50

hey, harley1, I actually am from the area. there are many more out there with the same problem as you. I can connect you to people, working on it, just send me a private message with e-mail, and i'll explain to you the unexplainable. the more the better chance you have.
good luck
pianka
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Re: Our Mayor is on a mission to destroy our development

Мнениеот harley1 » 10 Май 2013, 15:15

Hi,

Thank you for your post. I have sent you a private message.

Regards
harley1
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Мнения: 13
Регистриран на: 08 Апр 2013, 20:38


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