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Old 02.12.2020, 16:37
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Replacement apartment blocks being built

Why must things change? I don't like it!

We got notification recently from the developers that they're going to knock down the nearby apartment blocks and build nice shiny news ones. They certainly look better!

However, the sticks have gone up, and for the one nearest our house, instead of the building being 20m from our land boundary (and therefore 23m from the front of our house), it's now 6m (9m). And of course it's taller. Some of our neighbours have got it even worse!

We've already formed a neighbour whatsapp group to share communication and formally register our objections.

Where you live may vary, but we've got ten days from tomorrow (when the plans go online) to register that fact that we object. Then we have ten days to file the objection.

Just thought I'd document the process. I know it can be difficult to challenge building, especially when the developers already own the land. Hopefully though, we won't lose too much green space, light and privacy. If the developers get exactly what they want, a few trees are going to come down.

On the plus side, I can't believe how much new apartments on our street are going for!
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Old 02.12.2020, 18:14
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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On the plus side, I can't believe how much new apartments on our street are going for!
That's the explanation right there.

In our neighbourhood a beautiful old chalet with got knocked down to be replaced with several blocks of flats. Hideous things, enormous all-grey featureless multi-storey concrete boxes that Stalin would be proud of. But the thing that surprised me is that they somehow managed to get one of the blocks about 20cm into what used to be the road by adding a further slither of pavement on the side eating up further into the road. And the second building actually has the 1st floor extending out and over the pavement - the first floor tenants will literally be able to jump from their window into the bus below.

The 6 meters left to your building is probably the minimum the law requires. Expect that when built it will become 5m and nobody can do anything about it....
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Old 02.12.2020, 19:00
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

We'll see.
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Old 02.12.2020, 19:04
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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Why must things change? I don't like it!

We got notification recently from the developers that they're going to knock down the nearby apartment blocks and build nice shiny news ones. They certainly look better!

However, the sticks have gone up, and for the one nearest our house, instead of the building being 20m from our land boundary (and therefore 23m from the front of our house), it's now 6m (9m). And of course it's taller. Some of our neighbours have got it even worse!

We've already formed a neighbour whatsapp group to share communication and formally register our objections.

Where you live may vary, but we've got ten days from tomorrow (when the plans go online) to register that fact that we object. Then we have ten days to file the objection.

Just thought I'd document the process. I know it can be difficult to challenge building, especially when the developers already own the land. Hopefully though, we won't lose too much green space, light and privacy. If the developers get exactly what they want, a few trees are going to come down.

On the plus side, I can't believe how much new apartments on our street are going for!
The problem is the percentage that can be built on the land & the distance from the borders. If it's within the rules your grounds for objection are slim in CH, unlike say the UK.
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Old 02.12.2020, 19:11
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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That's the explanation right there.

In our neighbourhood a beautiful old chalet with got knocked down to be replaced with several blocks of flats. Hideous things, enormous all-grey featureless multi-storey concrete boxes that Stalin would be proud of. But the thing that surprised me is that they somehow managed to get one of the blocks about 20cm into what used to be the road by adding a further slither of pavement on the side eating up further into the road. And the second building actually has the 1st floor extending out and over the pavement - the first floor tenants will literally be able to jump from their window into the bus below.

The 6 meters left to your building is probably the minimum the law requires. Expect that when built it will become 5m and nobody can do anything about it....
Some buildings are too old and beyond renovating/repairment etc. The problem is not that they build new ones, but the new ones are uglier than the old ones.

I was noticing with OH some buildings in ZH which probably looked very modern for the '90s or even '80s (you know the type - metallic facades that looked modern and "avant-garde" back then and now are simply ugly, outdated and probably lack comfort) and wished the city urbanists and architects payed more attention to what gets approved and try to think, you know, how will that look in 30 or 50 years?

Btw, our municipality decided to knock down a few blocks of flats that were built for the foreign workers in the 50s or 60s.....I saluted the initiative.

Last edited by greenmount; 02.12.2020 at 19:23.
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Old 02.12.2020, 19:34
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

Quite often blocks get demolished because bringing them up to meet new standards (energy efficiency, safety, whatever) is relatively difficult and expensive, so it's simpler to knock down and rebuild. This also avoids them becoming listed as historical/protected buildings, once they're old enough ... is that at a hundred years? I think I heard that somewhere ...
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Old 02.12.2020, 19:41
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

In our area they've actually done quite a good job of many rebuilds - some of the old stuff was pig ugly (reminded me of council estates in Aberdeen), newer buildings aren't all aligned on a grid, are painted nice natural pastels, and have good landscaping.
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Old 02.12.2020, 20:38
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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...the new ones are uglier than the old ones.
At least these ones will be nicer.

We've got the official percentages, maxima and minima. We'll check the plans carefully against these, obviously. The only one I'm not totally sure is this one:
Floor area max. (Geschossflächenziffermax.) = 75%. I'm guessing this is the percentage of the area of the plot? Across the road, which has different zoning, it's 110%. My suspicion is that since the originals were built, there's been a rezoning.

We do know of people successfully objecting to building plans that were within the zoning regulations. But there's no many grounds. We'll do what we can and then put up with whatever we get.
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Old 03.12.2020, 08:16
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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At least these ones will be nicer.

We've got the official percentages, maxima and minima. We'll check the plans carefully against these, obviously. The only one I'm not totally sure is this one:
Floor area max. (Geschossflächenziffermax.) = 75%. I'm guessing this is the percentage of the area of the plot? Across the road, which has different zoning, it's 110%. My suspicion is that since the originals were built, there's been a rezoning.

We do know of people successfully objecting to building plans that were within the zoning regulations. But there's no many grounds. We'll do what we can and then put up with whatever we get.
I hope you're right, but I know of at least one project in ZH city where the owners association has no chances to prevent the construction of a new urban centre. Too much money involved me thinks.

What I don't know and asked my Swiss friends but they also seem to know nothing about it, is what happens with people living in those buildings that municipality has decided to knock down and build new ones? I was never sure about their status i.e. whether they're social apartments or not, all I know is they were built for foreign workers in the '50s or '60s, first it was the Italians or later the Spaniards living there, then people from ex-Yugoslavia etc. Now they're empty and soon will be replaced by new, shiny, probably not very pretty things. I can only hope that the old tenants will be allowed to live in the new blocks of flats.
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Old 03.12.2020, 08:27
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

If the land and houses belonged to the community, I'd have even less hope.

The plans are available, as promised. They seem to want 3 floors and the zoning regs say "max. Vollgeschosszahl" 2. I.e. no more that 2 full floors. My neighbours and us will study in detail over the weekend. Fun times!

Lots of trees and shrubs though.
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Old 03.12.2020, 09:13
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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If the land and houses belonged to the community, I'd have even less hope.

The plans are available, as promised. They seem to want 3 floors and the zoning regs say "max. Vollgeschosszahl" 2. I.e. no more that 2 full floors. My neighbours and us will study in detail over the weekend. Fun times!

Lots of trees and shrubs though.
I was wondering what exactly that means, and found this (ok it's in Wallis, but I assume it's fairly standard).

https://www.vs.ch/documents/34257/30...a-17475153a394

replacement-apartment-blocks-being-built-vg.png
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Old 03.12.2020, 09:16
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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If the land and houses belonged to the well connected old Swiss family in thecommunity, I'd have a snowballs chance in hell of any change.

The plans are available, as promised. They seem to want 3 floors and the zoning regs say "max. Vollgeschosszahl" 2. I.e. no more that 2 full floors. My neighbours and us will study in detail over the weekend. Fun times!

Lots of trees and shrubs though.
Fixed that for you!

The regulations on these things are quite clear but the interpretation of these things are opaque at best. I won't go into chapter and verse of the disaster in front of us we spent 10k on having no effect at all but to say it was it was a deal done by the developers (dead) grandfather in the 1950s! So it is more who you know than what you know is correct.

The way it works is by in an application way outside of guidelines knowing it won't be approved (but supported by the Bauamt and Building commission) so after "community consultation" a few things are changed to appease the community, it goes ahead outside of any sensible interpretation of the apparent rules.

If you can find a local whose family (preferably in the building trade) has lived in the area for several generations they know this stuff like local folklore! Funnily enough we met such a person afterwards and they knew all the reasons why something was approved/disapproved mostly related to the sins or connections of grandparents!
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Old 03.12.2020, 10:15
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

Thank you for the FIFY. I'm well aware of the unofficial forces. Fortunately, the land and buildings are owned by neither an established family of the community nor the community. Anyway - I'm just reporting into WHAT happens. I'm not really interested in the doom and gloom are chances of various scenarios.

We've got the plans. We go through them. Any breaches of the regulations we highlight, plus anything else we're unhappy with. In a few years a new building of some shape will be in existence.

And the buildings themselves look very nicely designed. I might buy one of the apartments myself.
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Old 03.12.2020, 13:11
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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I was wondering what exactly that means, and found this (ok it's in Wallis, but I assume it's fairly standard).

https://www.vs.ch/documents/34257/30...a-17475153a394

Attachment 140824
I checked the zone regulations. It's all floors, except basement and attic.

We've received a letter from the Gemeinde. We've got 10 days to object. If we make groundless or inadmissible objections, the Building Inspectorate can charge us up to 3000 Francs. Any objections under private law (I guess that's civil law) law, and Building Inspectorate won't take any action; we'll be referred to the civil courts.
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Old 03.12.2020, 13:24
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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And the buildings themselves look very nicely designed. I might buy one of the apartments myself.
There’s your solution! I would get in early before the good ones go...
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Old 03.12.2020, 14:11
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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Why must things change? I don't like it!

We got notification recently from the developers that they're going to knock down the nearby apartment blocks and build nice shiny news ones. They certainly look better!

However, the sticks have gone up, and for the one nearest our house, instead of the building being 20m from our land boundary (and therefore 23m from the front of our house), it's now 6m (9m). And of course it's taller. Some of our neighbours have got it even worse!

We've already formed a neighbour whatsapp group to share communication and formally register our objections.

Where you live may vary, but we've got ten days from tomorrow (when the plans go online) to register that fact that we object. Then we have ten days to file the objection.

Just thought I'd document the process. I know it can be difficult to challenge building, especially when the developers already own the land. Hopefully though, we won't lose too much green space, light and privacy. If the developers get exactly what they want, a few trees are going to come down.

On the plus side, I can't believe how much new apartments on our street are going for!

It's definitely worth a shot. A project in our village has been put on hold/modified because of objections....it's a rather complicated situation though and not resolved yet. Thanks for sharing the process - always good to learn more about how things work here. Good luck with the project!!
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Old 03.12.2020, 14:14
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

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There’s your solution! I would get in early before the good ones go...
In fact some times in order to dissipate objections, developers reach an agreement with a commune to allow the purchase of apartments by local residents before the apartments go on sale in the market. When they are off-the-plan apartments this is a good deal because the price typically increases right as the building starts going up.
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Old 03.12.2020, 20:10
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

Interestingly the zoning laws are all at Canton level. It's not entirely clear how much involvement the community actually has in the process - although they must have some.
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Old 03.12.2020, 20:35
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

And that is when those Church bells come in really handy - no change, no new buildings, majestuous old trees- a small price to pay
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Old 14.12.2020, 20:38
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Re: Replacement apartment blocks being built

We've sent our objections now to the Bauamt. We joined forces with our immediate neighbours. Two objections are based on the zone rules, one is based on safety of the local school and kindergarten children.

The plans were found here: https://bgauflage.bl.ch/index.html
geoportal.ch has maps, including one that shows the Baugesuche (planning applications and status) for AG, AI, AR, BL, BS, SG, SO, TG and ZH. There's not much information beyond the status of applications. It goes down to individual plot level.

It's interesting to see that one application near us that started last year, and was objected to and revised, is still pending approval.

Zone regulations and zone maps were found on our local Gemeinde site.

We found cantonal building regulations here.

If you object with reasons that are groundless, you'll be charged. If you object with reasons under private law, then you'll be directed by the bauamt to seek civil measures. If they're under public law, then the bauamt will consider them. If you begin legal procedures under private law, building must halt until a court judgement or settlement is reached. Thus, if you have unlimited funds, you can probably stop any development indefinitely...

Anything beyond what is clearly against zoning laws, I'd recommend taking legal advice. E.g. privacy, shade, convenience, loss of value...
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