Norwegians threaten Tallinn with suit

  • 2003-09-04
  • Baltic Business News
TALLINN - Norwegian investors who have acquired several attractive properties on Harju
Street in Tallinn's Old Town said that they might sue the city for failure
to carry out promised developments in the area.
Paal Aschjem, who represents several Norwegian investors, said that the city
administration had one month to approve a plan for area development, after
which the investors would consider taking the city to court.
A respective letter has been submitted to Mayor Edgar Savisaar and City
Council Chair-woman Maret Maripuu.
During this month Norwegian investors would not comment the issue in detail,
Aschjem said.
Last year Aschjem said that if the city failed to comply with investors'
demands, the latter were prepared to sue for 30 million kroons (1.9 million
Planning has been frozen for one year and the city, according to investors,
has shown no interest in approving the document that would allow property
developers to build in the area that has partly undergone excavation.
Norwegian property investors claim that they acquired the land five years
ago on the basis of a former plan, according to which the area was to be
developed and that the city would have to buy back the properties if it
prohibited infrastructure development.
Aschjem did not rule out that landowners would also claim unearned profit.
Toivo Ninnas, deputy mayor who is in charge of urban planning, said that he
would not comment on the claim.
"Our lawyers will study what are the rights of both parties, and then the
mayor could call the city government to session to resolve the issue."
Ninnas said that the city did not plan at this stage to buy back land on
Harju Street.
"If we change the planning, we will see what the landowners wish to do and
what their rights are," he said.
Ninnas explained that planning had been frozen for a year as the city had
been attempting to reach an agreement with landowners but so far had failed.
He confirmed that the city intended to change the current plan, which allows
the development of the area, and come up with an entirely new plan.