We have already written about the confrontation around Protasiv Yar Park in Kyiv. It started afresh in 2019 and continues until today. The main reason is forested land, which is located almost in the center of Kyiv and on which developers want to build a record number of dwelling for the capital without providing proper infrastructure. Instead of man-made and environmental disasters residents prefer to enjoy nature and prevent.
Protasiv Yar is a 30-hectare forest in the center of Kyiv, which is part of the protected landscape zone and according to the 2020 Master Plan is a park (a green zone of general recreational use).
The Yar has a unique flora and fauna, some of which are protected by the Berne Convention. This area is also valuable due to its authentic natural landscape, which is why it is subjected to the norms of the European Landscape Convention (signed on behalf of Ukraine on June 17, 2004 in Strasbourg and ratified by the Law of Ukraine on September 7, 2005 № 2831-IV). In addition, this territory contains unique archeological and historical monuments that have not yet been generally explored, composing a cultural potential for the citizens. Here are the remains of settlements of the first century and villages of Kyivan Rus.
Unfortunately, the statutory provision of the European Landscape Convention were infringed during the construction of the road through the Protasiv Yar in 2001-2003. At the same time, part of the archeological heritage was lost due to this ambitious project of former mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko.
In the early 2000s, there was an influx of «gravy train» in the capital, which financial and industrial groups invested in the construction of Kyiv. Construction since the early 2000s and up to now has become the most profitable deal in the capital. And the confrontation against housing development, which was invading people’s living space, became an unexpected hobby for citizens.
In this article, we will focus on the confrontation history: developers against public organizations. Worth to mention that only one is still remain – “Protasiv Yar Protection”.
We will build the first part of our chronology on the names of construction companies.
Protasiv Yar LLC (2004 – up to the present day)
Decisions on the construction of the Protasiv Yar, as well as on other green areas, have been signed by the Kyiv City Council since 2004. Almost every decision was illegal (in violation of the procedure for making changes) stating: ” changes to the Kyiv Master Plan.”
The first “step” of Protasiv Yar construction was the allocation of its part to Protasiv Yar LLC. By the decision of the Kyiv City Council dated March 24, 2002 № 298-3 / 1732 and dated July 11, 2002 № 118/118, the location of the residential complex on Batyeva Gora between Volgogradska, Dokuchaevska, Solomyanska and Protasiv Yar streets in the streets quarter of Protasiv Yar, Mykola Amosova and Solomyanska in Solomyansky district was agreed upon.
It results in the decision of the Kyiv City Council № 636/2046 of October 21, 2004 “On the sale of land to the limited liability company” Protasiv Yar “for the construction of a residential complex with sociocultural facilities in the quarter of Volgogradskaya, Dokuchaevskaya, Protasiv Yar and Solomianska and in the quarter of Protasiv Yar, Mykola Amosova and Solomianska streets in the Solomianska district of Kyiv ”.
Such actions of the Kyiv City Council allowed the destruction of 17 hectares of green areas of general use in Solomyansky district that is known as one of the least green areas in the city. This decision contradicted the General Development Plan of the Kyiv city, according to which the purpose of this territory is to create a park of district significance.
Oxyland LLC (2007-2010)
The second “step” of the building close to Yar was the lease by the Kyiv City Council of the land plot of Oxyland LLC for “construction of a residential building with underground parking and social and domestic facilities” with an area of 2000 square meters at the 25a Volgogradska street.
A small land parcel next to the existing 16-storey residential building was for building construction. Below the slope is the territory of the park. The construction would lead to the deforestation in the Yar, because the developers had to “strengthen the slope” by building an integral complex with a house built in the 1970s.
By the decision of the Kyiv City Council dated 22.02.2007 №181 / 842 the land management project on allocation for construction on the land of Oxyland LLC was approved, the land plot of 0.20 ha was transferred to the company for short-term lease for 5 years at the expense of residential and public buildings.
On July 10, 2007, a scandalous “public discussion” at № 187 High School was around the construction of 25a Volgogradska Street. The organizer of the event to legalize the destruction of part of the green zone was LLC “Oxyland”. Therefore, public representatives who opposed the construction were not allowed there at first.
It is worthy to mention that until 2010, an effective method of the community to fight for their rights was the disruption of public hearings held by developers. Developers were obliged to hold such hearings in accordance with the Law “On Urban Development”. In 2010, the government of Viktor Yanukovych abolished this procedure, opening the gates for the barbaric development of the capital.
During this period, the decision of the Kyiv City Council of June 16, 2005 “On the procedure for public discussion of urban planning documentation” was still in force. But this document only obliged to consider the opinion of residents at the sessions of deputies of the district or city council. And the local authorities made believe that understand citizens, but made their own decision according to their interests. As a rule, in favor of the wealthiest organization.
For unknown reasons, construction on the site has not begun. The lease agreement for the plot with cadastral number 8000000000: 72: 215: 0045 has not been extended. And the information on this cadastral number is absent in the real estate register.
But according to the cadastral plan of May 2020 the area at the 25a Volgogradska street is still pending the status of land reserved for housing and public buildings. At any moment this area can be given to the next investor and construction could be begun. Another time- train wreck waiting to happen.
Vagra LLC (2014-2015)
It is worth to mention the “hot spot” nearby with a similar address – 25 Volgogradska street where located a former vegetable store. By the decision of October 23, 2013, the Kyiv City Council allocated this plot for a long-term lease for 10 years to Vagra LLC for the construction of a residential building. The area of the land plot is 0.1521 hectares.
Construction on the site threatens to slide the building to the Yar, located on the slope of Batyeva Mountain and near the site. In 2014-2015, after community fighting, including protests in the form of enclosure demolition and court visits, construction was suspended.
In February 2015, the Deputy Prosecutor of Kyiv appealed to the Commercial Court of Kyiv with a claim to the Kyiv City Council and Vagra LLC to declare illegal and cancel the decision of the Kyiv City Council to transfer the site for construction, maintenance and operation of a residential building. In support of the claims, the prosecutor noted that the decision of the Kyiv City Council was made in violation of the Land Code of Ukraine, which entails its illegality and invalidity of the land lease agreement concluded on the basis of this decision.
By the decision of the Commercial Court of the city of Kyiv in case № 910/4528/15-г the lease agreement of the land plot was declared invalid and stripped Vagra LLC of rights for usage this area. Hold up under misfortunes, Vagra LLC appealed to the Kyiv Commercial Court.
However, in view of the circumstances and facts of the case, the Commercial Court of Appeal concluded that the decision of the court of first instance was made after full clarification of the circumstances and compliance with substantive and procedural law. Thus, the judicial panel of the KCCA (Kyiv Commercial Court of Appeal), supporting the demands of the prosecutor’s office, obliged the commercial structure to return the illegally leased land plot to the municipal property of the city.
But the site is still in thehousing stock. One more time- train wreck waiting to happen.
“Scheme” of the Kyiv City State Administration: 2005 Green Zones Development Program
The community has repeatedly noted public statements that the parks of Batyeva Gora – Protasiv Yar and Solomyansky Landscape Park – are cluttered areas that are not worth preserving and should be built with the so-called “elite housing”. Meanwhile, the General Plan of Kyiv (from 2002) until 2020 provides for the complete preservation of the territory of Protasiv Yar.
Instead, in the Program for the Development of the Green Zone of Kyiv adopted on July 19, 2005, the territory of Protasiv Yar was cut by 19 hectares relative to the General Plan, i.e. half of the park formally lost the status of a green zone.
As an illustration of the land allotments – the Kyiv City Council in that year adopted a decision №95 / 2671 of 27.01.2005 “On the transfer land for construction, operation and maintenance of shopping and office complex with parking, parking and car wash at 13-a, 15, 17 Protasiv Yar street in Solomyansky district to the ” GEOKON ” LLC ”. Now it is a building opposite the Royal Hill cottage town.
Confrontation in 2004-2007
The first historic picketing of the Kyiv City Council was the action of a group of public organizations on November 10, 2004 with the demand to cancel the allotment of land to Protasiv Yar LLC.
In 2005, the community founded the NGO “Virnyi Vybir”, which defended not only Protasiv Yar, but also Solomyansky Park (Kuchmyn Yar). At that time, there were other outrageous construction projects such as buildings on the 15a Solomyanska street (“Panorama SV” LLC), and on 17a Solomyanska street (Kyivrekonstruktsiya LLC). For 2020, former deputies of the Kyiv City Council live in the house near the entrance to the park at 15a, and a ditch for foundation has not yet been buried on the site at 17a.
Meanwhile, the ” Virnyi Vybir ” in 2006 was illegal tookeover by politicians who tried to use the organization for their own selfish purposes. This organization does not exist now. An initiative group of local residents continued to operate.
In 2006, the community submitted a 1,500-signature local initiative to the Kyiv City Council against the allocation on Batyeva Gora. The local initiative was entitled “On the cancellation of the decisions of the Kyiv City Council on land allocation on the territory of Batova (Batyeva) Hill in the Solomyansky district of Kyiv” and was submitted to the Kyiv City State Administration on January 17, 2006. Paragraph 1.7 of the initiative demanded the abolition of land allotment on the territory of the Protasiv Yar. Former members of the NGO ” Virnyi Vybir ” said that the initiative was demonstratively rejected along with a dozen other initiatives during one session of the Kyiv City Council.
It is important to know that the community has also gathered its own public hearings. The first took place in July 2005 (“On the preservation of historical buildings and the natural environment of the city of Kyiv”) (Ex. № 288 of 27.07.05 Solomyansk district council in Kyiv to O.O.Omelchenko). There was also a Resolution on February 19, 2006 on the results of public hearings on the preservation of green areas and plantations, sports grounds on the Nekhody street, (in “Energetik” microdistrict, Protasiv Yar), 25-a Volgogradskaya, 33-a Umanskaya streets and Solomyansky Landscape Park.
The current state
Since May 2019, there has been an active struggle around a “hot spot”. Today is the year of the confrontation of the Protasov Yar Community against the illegal construction of the Dnieper company Daytona Group LLC, which plans to build three 40-storey buildings on the site of a forest in Protasiv Yar.
On May 26, 2020, for the first time since the quarantine, activists demanded the creation of a park in Protasov Yar outside the Kyiv City State Administration. More than 50 people came to the rally.
The mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko immediately commented the mass meeting of citizens, assuring that at the next session the Kyiv City Council will consider changing the purpose of part of the land plots of Protasiv Yar to a green zone. In particular, the mayor said: “I want to assure the community of Protasiv Yar: the city is doing everything to put this land in order. At the next session of the Kyiv City Council, we will submit decisions on changing the purpose of part of the land plots back to the green zone. I would like the current deputies to take a responsible approach to this issue and support these draft decisions.”
Activists of “Protasiv Yar Protection” are putting pressure on the KCSA to file an action and dispute the agreement between Daytona Group LLC and Bora LLC.
Translated by Valeria Derevinska