From Iceland — Parliament Lodges Legal Complaint Against City

Parliament Lodges Legal Complaint Against City

Published November 22, 2013

The Parliamentary Presidential Committee has lodged a formal complaint against the city of Reykjavík.
RÚV reports that the committee believes that the city’s plans for the Kvosin district – a six-story hotel and a revamped NASA night club on the edge of Austurvöllur, the park in front of parliament – “shows disrespect for the Icelanders’ national parliament and the history of the country.”
Specifically, parliament believes Reykjavík has broken Article 36 of the constitution, which simply states, “Althingi is inviolate. No person may disturb its peace or violate its freedom.”
The breaking of this article was done, the committee contends, by never researching what sort of impact planning changes would have to parliament, and that the city had long decided beforehand that a hotel would be built at the location. This, they say, does not serve anyone else in the city but Pétur Þór Sigurðsson, the person who owns the land on which the hotel will be built. They also claim the city never investigated what environmental impacts the hotel and its construction could have.
City council president Dagur B. Eggertsson dismissed the charges, pointing out that there was a widely-advertised planning contest for what to do with the Kvosin district, and that the city followed procedure to the letter.
“Of course it’s a controversial matter,” Dagur said, “But I think it’s beneath parliament to do this and, to be honest, nothing indicates that those who wrote [the complaint] have familiarised themselves with the matter particularly well.”
The parliamentary complaint has been formally filed with the Complaints Committee on Environmental and Resource Affairs. A decision on the matter is still pending.

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