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Circular 352 issued by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk allowing citizens from across the country to construct structures of up to three stories high violates the most basic principles of the Lebanese building law and zoning regulations.First, Machnouk's response displaces a serious challenge to which real policy responses need to be developed: Land is unaffordable to most Lebanese and this is the result of national policies. If people struggle to build a home and need a circular such as this one to add a floor to an existing building and/or expand over agricultural land, even if those are "illegal," it is because they are unable to access the land they direly need to build a home or a workspace.Indeed, by responding to a true need posed by citizens through an exceptional measure that extends illegally and exceptionally a permission to build, the decision by Machnouk perpetuates a situation in which the majority of citizens are granted a favor and tolerated occasionally and exceptionally. The decision recognizes that the majority of citizens are unable to secure or expand homes and/or workspaces given the existing frameworks through which land and buildings are managed.
Champion your electors, Mr. Hamad
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