"Forest maps"..the continuing saga
Update August 2017: The deadline for objections to the forestry plan has been extended until 7th of September. There have been around 9,500 applications in Messinia. Our Dimos (Western Mani) is one of several local authorities in Greece who have not reviewed and agreed the forestry plan for their areas. Local authorities were required to review the plan and identify areas that were inhabited or already approved for habitation. If your land falls into the defined forestry land on the forestry maps, even if it has previously been approved for development, it is important to take advice. Tharros (HS1-9-17) For local help, see below
June 6th 2017: Further extension to the period for submission of objections - The office in Kardamyli that can assist you in determining whether your property is now deemed 'forestry' land have advised that the submission date for all applications/ objections has been moved back to the 29th of July 2017.(HS 6-6-17)
Ownership of land or ‘forestry' land i.e. land belonging to the state rather than privately held has been defined using aerial maps dating from 1945 to 2008. In our area most of the maps have been created using aerial photographs dating from 2008. This may mean that if your house was built or land developed after 2008, it may have been declared ‘forestry’ land, that is property of the Greek state. In general villages and hamlets have been excluded but a lot of agricultural land, in particular olive groves have been defined as ‘forestry' land.
The government has extended yet again the deadline for submission of objections. If you are a Greek national resident in Greece then the deadline is now the 12th of June 2017. If you are a Greek national resident outside of Greece or a foreigner the deadline is now the 3rd of July 2017.
In principle you can check whether your land falls into the definition of forestry land on your computer. The KEP office in Karadamyli have a leaflet explaining (in Greek) how to do this. It is rather tortuous procedure and easier if you have a topographic plan with GPS co-ordinates. Again in principle the KEP can do this for you, however they are somewhat reluctant largely due to the age/ speed of their computer systems. Opposite the KEP office in Kardamyli there is a new office (next to the Piraeus Bank office), it is the office of the Messinian Olive oil co-operative. Here for a fee they will check whether your land is defined as ‘forestry’ land or not. They can also submit an application on your behalf (again for a fee). Fees may depend on the documentation available and the circumstances of your case. They can be contacted by phone on 27210 73739. If your application is rejected then a court case will be required and you will need to talk to a lawyer.
If you have a contract and ideally if you have a contract(s) going back for several years then you will have a stronger case.
Allegedly, if your land is deemed the property of the state (‘forestry’ land) you will be able to pay a small amount of ‘rent’ to use the land.
Not surprisingly, this is a very unpopular move by the government and a group has been set up in the Mani to fight this legislation. The independence of the Mani and the lack of Turkish occupation during the period of Ottoman control of Greece implies that ownership of the land could not have been transferred from the Turkish to the Greek state on independence. This group have organised demonstrations in Athens and are fighting the law in the courts. The bookseller and publisher in Aeropolis, George Demakoyiannis is involved and can give you further information about the group and the current status."
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