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Formentera clears the way for new rules on for-profit holiday rentals

votacio---ple-extra-abril-20191The Formentera Council convened its full assembly today for a one-off session that brought approval for an assortment of tourism regulation statutes which, in the words of land and tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, “will get the ball rolling on registration so we can see single- and multi-family homes cleared as holiday rentals as early as this summer”.

The first measure—backed by Gent per Formentera and the Socialists and voted against by the Popular Party—involved the final go-ahead for a one-off tweak of the island's Pla Territorial Insular (“Land Strategy”). The changes, which are geared towards protecting historical residential areas, include new tourism zoning for five thousand rental permits in rural parts of the island (except the vicinity of ses Salines and Formentera's Xarxa Natura) along with es Pujols, la Savina, es Caló, es Ca Marí and Mariland. The changes put the new cap for places turístiques (“rental permits”) at 20,585: 12,081 for hotels and 8,504 for private home vaction rentals. Ferrer said the move was about “striking a balance between islanders' quality of life and tourism” not to mention “ensuring year-round housing for all and improving the economic situation”.

Plan for quality
A number of new statutes were adopted as well: one GxF- and PSOE-backed measure (PP party members abstained) about the pla de qualitat for local holiday rentals. Ferrer framed them as “the make-or-break conditions that single- and multi-family homes must uphold if they are adapted for tourism”.

Debated by members of the Consell d'Entitats, the Plan for Quality sets minimum standards—renewable energy and parking spaces for bikes, to name two—for things like furniture, hygiene, general lodging conditions and environmental essentials. If property owners can prove compliance with the standards (26 points are compulsory while another 20—of which a total of 14 must be completed—are judged on a case by case basis) they obtain an accreditation known as “DRIAT”.

Administrative fee
Full assembly support came for a measure involving comments and definitive approval on the regulatory ordinance for the administrative service fee on tourism. The ordinance sets the processing fee at €300 for a 5-year rental permit and €150 for yearly renewal.

Fee for rental permits
“Yes” votes from GxF and PSOE councillors meant backing, despite PP abstention, for comments about and approval of a by-law regulating the per-bed cost of permits to provide rental accommodation. A rental permit for one bed costs €70/year and another 5% for each additional bed: a one-bed permit costs €70; the second costs €70+5% (€73.5); the third €73.5+5%, and so on until the base amount at the twelfth permit (€119.72).

April 23, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Consell de Formentera

Formentera Local Police arrest man on charges of defiling public health, defying law enforcement

foto-policia-local1Formentera Local Police report that on April 8 officers arrested an individual accused of putting public health in danger and undermining the authority of law enforcement agents.

The arrest occurred during a routine stop in ses Bardetes, when officers questioned a 28-year-old Colombian man, initials M.L.R.Y. The individual resisted and pushed one of the officers to the ground. He sustained light injuries.

A search of the man turned up 45 grams of hashish one gram of marijuana, 1,031 euros and 31 dollars USA. The man has been arraigned by the court.

April 12, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

Casa del Poble accord

conveni-casa-del-poble premsa1CiF chairman Jaume Ferrer met with Jaume Escandell of the la Mola Associació de Majors (Seniors Association) to put their signatures on a collaborative agreement between the group and the administration. The deal defines the terms of a temporary arrangement whereby, in addition to a grant to help cover maintenance and operating costs—like for promoting and sustaining association-based and community activities—the Council lets the Associació de Majors use the Casa del Poble's administrative facilities and multipurpose cultural space.

The Formentera Council's €30,000 grant, aimed generally at helping the Associació de Majors function and meet costs like maintenance, is also designed to stimulate the social sphere—organising and coordinating not-for-profit programming at the Casa del Poble at least once a week (this condition will not be enforced in summer).

April 2, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

Special full-house assembly to select polling station staff

foto-ple-meses-electorals prem1At a one-off plenary assembly held today in the Formentera Council's Sala de Plens, a drawing was conducted to select polling station staff and substitutes for the general elections of April 28, 2019.

The drawing, conducted with the help of a software programme, led to the selection of 81 islanders, who will now be notified. There is one polling station in la Mola, three in Sant Ferran and five in Sant Francesc. Each station requires the designation of one chairperson, two spokespeople and two substitutes for each. A total of 7,574 residents are registered to vote.

April 1, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

Formentera green-lights tweak of local directive to enable land handoff, build of children's park in Sant Ferran

ple-marc---2019 premsa1In a plenary assembly convened today by the Formentera Council, Gent per Formentera, PSOE and PP party members voted to approve proposed changes to the island's Pla Territorial (“Land Strategy”) laying the groundwork for course corrections and upgrades in new rules. Land councillor Alejandra Ferrer said the revisions were necessary for “compliance with regulations, adapting to new needs and correcting errors that have come up”.

Among the changes Ferrer enumerated, one was made possible by a deal concerning a plot of land in Sant Ferran. The accord gets the ball rolling on a land handoff which will open the door to construction of a new children's park (part of the island's participatory spending initiative), not to mention another land grant—this time to the Balearic housing authority, or IBAVI—so that low-cost public housing can be constructed in Sant Ferran.

CENF directives
With “yes” votes from the GxF, PSOE and Compromís and a “no” from the PP, approval was secured by an early motion to vet the use and operations directive for the island's “Nautical Sports Centre” (Centre d'Esports Nàutics de Formentera, or CENF).

The CENF build is still pending authorisation from the Balearic coastal authority (Demarcació de Costes). The facility will consist of two distinct spaces, said CiF sport councillor Jordi Vidal, “one for administrative offices and social and educational initiatives related to the sea, and another for nautical sports”.

The directive also covers the way Formentera's “Municipal Sailing School” (EMVF) is used. The EMVF will have access to CENF facilities and equipment to conduct sailing activities included in the “quality school” programme. Club Surf Formentera and the Balearic sailing federation have both collaborated in the programme for the last several years.

Waste transfer
Plenary members also signed off unanimously on a proposal about services offered by UTE GIREF, the firm contracted to transport waste to Eivissa. Environment councillor Daisee Aguilera pointed out that this year the island sent 500 tonnes, or 8.5 per cent, less rubbish to the transfer plant. The Formentera Council is responsible for meeting these costs, which, compared to 2017, are down €70,800.

Other disposables carry no associated transfer costs because they are already footed by recycling firms. Aguilera pointed out that recycling is at 29 per cent, putting Formentera residents ahead of most of their neighbours in the Balearics.

Report from culture, education and heritage councillor
Culture, education and heritage councillor Susana Labrador spoke to members of the day's session about her departments' work over the last year.

Among the range of initiatives under way, Labrador trumpeted the remodel of la Mola lighthouse. When work finished in January, upwards of two thousand people went to visit the space as part of a full month of open day events at the weekend. She indicated the museum side of the project is not far off and put the opening in early summer.

Labrador highlighted collaboration between the Council and Govern as key to bringing the Formentera museum closer to reality—not to mention the purchase of sa Senieta, which will house the museum seat.

Labrador underscored upgrades and expansion of the year-long programme of cultural activities put together by the CiF culture department in an effort, she said, “to be inclusive of every form of artistic expression and style”.

Turning to education, Labrador assured her department is “in it for keeps on early learning policies with clear objectives: quality education, no waiting lists in 2019, and vouchers—for enrolment and the cafeteria—to remove barriers facing children from lower income families”.

Labrador also called attention to the breadth of Catalan language courses available through the “Language Advisory Service” (Servei d'Assessorament Lingüístic), not to mention a suite of other consulting and support services for the Council's entire network of departments.

Official statements
In addition, assembly members voted in favour of two official proclamations: one concerning International Women's Day on March 8 (GxF, PSOE and Compromís party reps voted “yes” alongside PP abstention).

Council members signed off wholesale on a declaration of support to keep spills and pollutants out of the Mediterranean Sea.

March 29, 2019
Àrea de Comunicació
Formentera Council

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