Judge Jamgad Chunpolwong of the regional Administrative Court in Nakhon Sri Thammarat handed down the verdict last Tuesday (Aug 1).
The court found that buildings built along the shorefront as part of the Eva Beach development exceeded height restrictions, occupied a footprint greater than legally allowed and did not conform to the building permit approved, among other infractions.
The court also cast doubt on the legality of the building permit itself and whether it should have been approved.
However, when it comes to discerning how far from the water buildings are permitted, Mayor Aroon has long pointed out that there are several to choose from, depending on which law the authority chose to follow. Rawai Municipality has long adhered to the “OrBorJor line”, he noted in 2015. (See story here.)
In an unofficial translation obtained by The Phuket News, Judge Jamgad ruled that “… the first accused has the duty to issue the suspension of relevant actions and to prohibit anyone from using or entering any part of the building, and issue an order that the owner of the building to correct such fault or to remove the building depending on the case in order to observe the stipulations under Article 40, 41, or 42 of the Building Control Act 1979 (B.E. 2522) and other relevant law.
“However, as it appears that the first accused did not act on their duty to enforce the owner of the building to correct their building to observe the law. In this case, it can be held by the context and action of the first accused that the first accused had indeed neglected their duty by law in relevance to Building Control Act and other law under Article 9 paragraph 1 (2) of the Act on Establishment of Administrative Court and Administrative Court Procedure, B.E. 2542 (1999).”
Rawai Municipality has been given 90 days to “correct” its inaction.
The verdict comes as Rawai Municipality is already under fire for allowing multi-storey buildings to be constructed along the coastal road to Krathing Cape, immediately north of Nai Harn Beach, a road popular for its stunning sea view.
Rawai Municipality has since ordered that new construction plans for the eyesore construction site on Krathing Cape be drawn up and clarified within 30 days. (See story here.)
Meanwhile, the Eva Beach verdict has huge implications for Phuket’s property market, especially in preserving property values of developments secondary from the shore where “sea views” are critical in maintaining property prices.
Despite this, Eva Group Managing Director Authanop Pankamnerd has defended the legality of the group’s projects, especially the Eva Beach development, as far back as 2012. (See story here.)