Savir’s Corner: Occupation

Milton To clear up confusion and help home-based business owners, Milton Town Council is analyzing regulations for home occupations. As it stands, to offer piano lessons in one’s home, a resident would be required to apply for a special-use permit, triggering an expensive and lengthy process with the planning and zoning commission. Robin Davis, town project coordinator, suggested town council revise town code to better delineate what needs planning and zoning review. It seems to be a little more business friendly to some of these home-based businesses that don’t have an impact on a residential area, Davis said. Maybe we can spread them out. I think there’s a broad spectrum of businesses that we are lumping into home occupations. Davis used the piano lessons to outline the situation to council. Because piano lessons are classified as a home occupation, a piano teacher cannot simply apply for a business license. Instead the teacher is required to go before the planning and zoning commission, a process that would likely take a few months and cost about $800 after the individual pays an application fee, notification in the newspaper, certified letters to all neighbors within 200 feet and for the town solicitor and engineer to appear at the planning and zoning meeting. Davis said it deters prospective business owners from following through with the process. Resident Robert Palmer said he operates his engineering firm from his kitchen table. He does not believe he needs to go before planning and zoning either. It appears to me that there is some ambiguity about what would be considered a home occupation, he said. I don’t generate any traffic, noise, pollution; however, I do have a business partner and one employee. He said he generates no more traffic than a neighbor who lives with a roommate. But under current requirements, he must go through the planning and zoning process for a special permit. Through a cross reference with a list of state-issued business licenses, Davis discovered a number of residents may be operating home-based businesses without a Milton business license. Before contacting each of the more than 70 residents on the list, Davis said, he is looking for resolution to the home-occupation issue. Without amending the code, he said, he expects the planning and zoning commission to be quite busy in the coming months. Council tasked Davis with analyzing the list of home-based businesses to see if a criteria can be created to allow residents to bypass the planning and zoning process. Vice Mayor John Booros is frustrated that town is just now getting around to forcing the issue with business licenses. These businesses should’ve had a license for the last three or four years, and they didn’t, he said. This is revenue the town has lost, and this town needs revenue. There is no excuse for not having this revenue.

While sometimes necessary, this routine is hurting mostly innocent civilians, constantly in fear of soldiers entering their homes. It creates a bitterness and disillusion with political agreements, ultimately leading to more violence. If the Palestinians are anxious for their well-being in their own cities, it is their freedom of movement that is most curtailed. Machsom (checkpoint) has become a synonym for humiliation, not only in entering Israel, but also between Palestinian cities and villages. For those who want to or have to enter Israel, there is a prolonged Via Dolorosa of obtaining a permit. The word itself is denigrating as it derives from permission. Why not a visa? the Palestinians ask. Our answer to this is that all these measures are for the sake of security. This is a misleading perception. Stringent security measures must be taken to counter terror and can succeed only with Palestinian cooperation. Palestinians will not and should not gain anything from violence. Palestinian terrorists are also killing their own peoples cause. Yet there is a difference between effective measures that our various security forces are very much capable of implementing and collective punishment of a whole population. The first weakens terrorism, the latter with time encourages it. You can ask our gatekeepers, the former heads of our Shin Bet security service. Still, the main obstacle to any normal Palestinian dignified life or future is the settlements. A visit to the West Bank is a visit to an apartheid state. One hundred thirty settlements and another 100 outposts with 340,000 settlers are spread all over the area. Palestinians in the West Bank see, from their houses or in their daily travel, tens of thousands of settlement housing units and view them as an assault on their daily lives and their national aspirations. With the settlements in place, there will be no Palestinian state, leaving the Palestinians in despair. Furthermore, there is a blatant contrast in the standard of living modern Israeli settlement housing with green gardens and swimming pools in contrast with the relative poverty of Palestinian housing and infrastructure. The settlers in the apartheid country can use their own roads and buses. Water from the West Bank mountain aquifer is 87 percent used by Israelis (according to the WASH monitoring program). The West Bank is gradually becoming a binational state, with power on the Israeli side and demographics on the Palestinian one. When we conquered the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, there were 1 million Palestinians living there, today only 46 years later, there are over 3 million Palestinians. The future balance is obvious. The settlements as well as the security restrictions are a heavy burden on the Palestinian economy. According to the World Bank, half of the land of the West Bank, most of it agricultural, is inaccessible to Palestinians. Indeed a binational state. The movement of Palestinian goods and people is heavily restricted, which costs the Palestinian economy $3.4 billion a year according to this years World Bank report. The significance of the occupation for both sides is devastating. From a political, economic and security point of view, the deeper the occupation, the more impossible a two-state solution becomes. The situation in the West Bank will one day comprise the whole area from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River; an apartheid state with no democracy, no Jewish identity, isolated from the world as a pariah state. Palestinian hostility and violence will only grow with time no nation will take its lack of freedom lying down. The Palestinians as well as the Arab countries bear their fair share, if not most, of the blame for this conflict because of their rejection of Israels existence and legitimacy in and since 1948. A change of attitude toward Israel must be a condition for any agreement which is recognized by the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

Celebrating Christopher Columbus means celebrating occupation and oppression

It is against the law to move into flats in buildings without the mandatory municipal occupation certificate (OC), the Bombay high court has ruled. A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Gautam Patel reportedly sought action against 49 flat owners as well as a nursing home in two wings of a building with six wings in Sion East. The BMC has now informed the court it will issue notices to the 49 families, which moved into wings E and F as well as the nursing home on the first floor. The courts order could have an impact beyond this multi-storeyed Sion building it is feared. Reportedly there are estimated 6,000 buildings in Mumbai occupied without OCs. Over one lakh families staying in such buildings can get in to sleepless nights all of a sudden. Only around 100 buildings came forward for regularization in response to state governments amnesty scheme for such buildings a few years ago. The Division Bench was hearing a petition filed by the Sion Kamgar Cooperative Society that had leased the land in a central location in Sion for 999 years in the 1950s. A few years ago it went in for redevelopment. In its petition, the society claimed that while four wings were constructed as per plans, two additional wings were put up-which now house around 50 families and also has a nursing home on the first floor. The society asked the court to initiate action against the nursing home. Sai Prasad building. In 1956, State Government allotted land to the Sion Kamgar CHS for flats for its members. A decade ago the society went in for redevelopment. The builder constructed four wings as per rules, but allegedly built two more wings with 56 flats and a nursing home in violation of the law and despite stop work notices. BMC admitted in court that the two wings did not have an OC. HC reportedly took civic body to task for illegal wings at Sion Cooperative housing society. What we find is that there is complete silence maintained (in the corporations affidavit) with regard to the construction of Wings E and F and whether they are unauthorized as claimed, said the judges. The BMCs counsel admitted before the court that both E and F wings did not have any occupation certificate. The court added that the nursing home might have been unaware of the disputes between the society and the developers, but the law did not permit occupying a building without OC. Curiously, the nursing home was allowed by BMC because it had all licences and the corporation had taken an undertaking from the hospital owners that the OC would be produced whenever it is issued. WHY IS AN OC IMPORTANT? Once the building is complete, the developer has to obtain an OC, certifying that the building has complied with the approved plans. Only after the OC is issued can flat owners occupy the apartments as per law, as otherwise the building is considered illegal. BMC charges double the taxes and can initiate action against flat owners. Many builders do not bother to get OC and owners move into flats once the construction is complete. The law says that if the building has been constructed without any plans it cannot be regularized by BMC. Leave a Reply

Cairo under occupation

Fahmi Howeidi

They will have to be proceeded against by the municipal corporation,” said the judges. The BMC told the court it will issue notices to the 49 families, which moved into wings E and F as well as the nursing home on the first floor. The court’s order could have an impact beyond this multi-storeyed Sion building. There could be as many as 6,000 buildings in Mumbai without OCs. Over one lakh families stay in such buildings. A few years ago, a state government amnesty scheme for such buildings received a tepid responsewith just around 100 buildings seeking regularization. The court was hearing a petition filed by the Sion Kamgar Cooperative Society that had leased the land in a central location in Sion for 999 years in the 1950s. A few years ago it went in for redevelopment. In its petition, the society claimed that while four wings were constructed as per plans, two additional wings were put upwhich now house around 50 families and also has a nursing home on the first floor. The society asked the court to initiate action against the nursing home. The court admonished the BMC for its conduct. “What we find is that there is complete silence maintained (in the corporation’s affidavit) with regard to the construction of Wings E and F and whether they are unauthorized as claimed,” said the judges. The BMC’s counsel admitted before the court that both E and F wings did not have any occupation certificate. The court added that the nursing home might have been unaware of the disputes between the society and the developers, but the law did not permit occupying a building without OC. The BMC claimed that it had allowed the nursing home to be set up as it had all licences and the corporation had taken an undertaking from the hospital owners that the OC would be produced whenever it is issued. The HC said that this was not enough. Sai Prasad building The government in 1956 allotted land in a central location in Sion East to the Sion Kamgar Cooperative housing society to set up flats for its members. Around a decade ago the society went in for redevelopment. The builder constructed four wingsA, B, C, Das per rules. The society alleged that in violation of rules two additional wings with 56 flats and a nursing home were constructed, despite stop work and demolition notices. Families moved in and the nursing home was set up. The society’s new managing committee moved the HC seeking action against the nursing home. During the hearing, the BMC admitted the two wings did not have an OC. The high court sought action against the 49 families who had moved in to the flats and the nursing home as no OC was given to the two wings. What is an OC? To construct a building a developer needs commence certificate (CC) and Intimation of Disapproval (IOD). Once the building is complete, the builder has to obtain an Occupation Certificate, which certifies that the building has complied with the approved plans. Why is an OC important? Only once the OC is issued can flat owners occupy the apartments as per law, as otherwise the building is considered illegal.

CHS: Court rules in favour of Occupation Certificate

When he ran into a police officer, he did not hesitate to shoot at him, but the police chased him down and arrested him, in addition to seizing his gun. What really caught my attention when this occurred yesterday was the young man’s courage which bordered on recklessness. He was not worried that he was driving an unlicensed motorcycle, nor did he have any reservations about driving it into oncoming traffic. Moreover, he refused to obey the attempts to stop him, choosing instead to scare and terrorise the police officers by shooting at them. Reported on the same page in Al-Tahrir newspaper there were other stories about people acting very daringly against the state agency responsible for public law and order. There was one about a man who had a disagreement with his neighbour in the Al-Qalyoubia municipality over their children playing, and then the man made a bomb and threw it in front of his neighbour’s house to scare and punish him; no hesitation! I also read about an incident in Al-Sharqiya, when a young man, a repeat offender, cut off a police officer’s hand after the officer had tried to catch him. He also blinded 5 people when he opened fire on them because they tried to stand in his way. After he was arrested, the police found that there were 18 outstanding charges against him and 5 warrants out for his arrest. Furthermore, in Al-Gharbia municipality, a truck hit a tractor and killed the tractor driver, so the people of his village cut off the agricultural road leading to the municipality’s administrative centre. In yet another incident, someone bought a car from another person for EGP 120,000 (around 11,000), but only handed over EGP 20,000. When the time came for him to pay the balance the seller sent two men to represent him and collect the money, but the buyer captured the two individuals, with the help of his friends and they were not released until the police intervened All of these incidents, among others, took place on just one day, and I do not believe that it was an exception; such events are regular occurrences and the signs are that they will escalate as they have done since the January 25th Revolution. When the masses took to the streets and their pent-up anger at the regime was taken out on the police as an institution, it was because it had acted as the regime’s oppressive tool for at least 30 years. Once the head of the regime fell and its foundations were shaken, the police, who became invisible in public places, were targeted by angry families and many police buildings and vehicles were torched. Since them a number of variables have emerged onto the Egyptian street and are related to the community’s relationship with the police. The most important outcome of these variables is that the status of the police was greatly diminished so that their presence on the streets has become quite humble, even in Cairo; I can only imagine what it is like in the other regions, in which the absence of police officers in public is most likely twice as noticeable. Under these circumstances, the opportunists and thugs have emerged and imposed a fait accompli on the capital which has now become very difficult and expensive to remove. This new reality imposed itself on the heart of the city and its most vital roads which have now become occupied by invading armies whose origins we are unsure of. What we do know is that they have become a force on the ground that has challenged the police and municipality and which even the army’s tanks, armoured vehicles and barbed wire have been unable to move. In addition to the absence of the police forces on the street which has caused the masses to become more daring in challenging laws and regulations, there are two core elements that have contributed to the growth of this lawlessness. First, since the revolution, the security agencies have remained busy with the protests and political security and no longer care about the other manifestations of disorder and chaos. More specifically, nowadays the police neglect of their duty to preserve public order and the law in favour of focusing on the protests has become a definite matter and is not debatable. I have heard this from some of their leaders, one of whom told me that the only voice they hear is the voice of the protests, so the police are unwilling to pay attention to any unrelated matters. The second important element is that the thugs and opportunists who have occupied the streets have become the eyes of the security agencies and are being used to confront the political opposition. As such, it is natural for the state to turn a blind eye to their growth on the main streets over which they maintain control. If this analysis is correct, it means that the community will not feel safe as long as political stability is absent in Egypt because the police service believes that protecting the regime is its first priority. Until this happens, ordinary people have no choice but to manage the situation on their own and defend themselves, and incidents like those related above will become even more commonplace. This is a translation of the Arabic text which was published in Al Shorouk newspaper on 21 October, 2013

Bombay HC: Illegal to move into property without occupation certificate

However, this federal holiday celebrates a man that in todays times would be tried as a war criminal at the very least. Furthermore, most of what we learned in elementary school about Columbus is false. So what are the facts? First of all, Christopher Columbus landed on a beach in the Bahamas on Oct. 12, 1492. There he found three tribes of natives: the Lucayans, Tainos and Arawaks. Columbus found these people especially kind and charitablein fact, the Arawaks actually saved La Santa Maria and its men when it was shipwrecked. These gentle people had no weapons and lived in harmony, according to historian Howard Zinn. Of course, an enterprising capitalist like Columbus could not resist the opportunity to enslave them, steal all of their gold and seize their land in the name of Spain. Now, what was false? Most importantly, Columbus didnt discover the Americas. He landed in the middle of the Caribbean and believed he had hit India. Furthermore, he wasnt even the first European to find the New World. According to BBC History, Leif Ericson, a Viking, reached Newfoundland and formed a colony there 500 years before Columbus was born! Additionally, to say that Columbus discovered the Americasa place with many natives already living thereis akin to saying that you discovered your neighbors backyard. The real explorer who found mainland America in 1500 was an Italian man named Amerigo Vespucci. Unlike Columbus, this man wasnt a power-hungry and gold-crazed business man, but rather a navigator who explored the eastern coasts of North and South America. Finally, according to the Boston Globe, mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller lent Amerigos name to the supercontinent: America, the feminized Latin form of Amerigo. Whyis Columbus so revered, then? One word: lobbyists. Specifically, lobbyists representing the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, that was trying to create a positive Catholic role-model for budding young American men. Their lobbying caused Congress and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to make Columbus Day a federal holiday in 1934. Heres a moment to be happy to live in Oregon, then. Oregon is one of four states (the other three being Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota) that doesnt observe the holiday. There is a general consensus on campus that Columbus was a terrible person. I agree that he was not a particularly ethical man. However, we are judging him by todays standards. Back then, it was the prevailing opinion that non-whites were inferior and even sub-human. Furthermore, colonization and the spread of mercantilism were at the forefront of the European foreign policy. Columbus was someone who took those views to their extreme. Now, after noting historical context, it is still evident that he was a rotten person. For example, he sold 9- and 10-year-old native girls into sex slavery. Even his fellow men thought that was a bit much. I leave you all with two observations: it is key to recognize historical context and Columbus Day is a holiday that doesnt have a legitimate and moral claim to existence and to celebrate it is pathetic.

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