Jerusalem neighborhood approved on Ramat Rachel land
The Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee approved a plan to build a residential area, called “The Lower Aqueduct,” on the slopes of the hill on which the Ramat Rachel Hotel stands, west of the Tsur Baher district. Under this plan, 1,215 housing units and 250 sheltered housing units will be built. There will also be public buildings and open spaces. The plan will now go to the Jerusalem District Planning Committee.
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The plan covers an area of ââ186 dunams (46.5 acres) owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), private landowners, the Development Authority (absentee property) and “unknown persons”. The plan, initiated by the Israel Land Authority, includes the consolidation and division of land without the consent of the owners. At present, the land is part of the Kibbutz Ramat Rachel area. Execution of the plan will involve annexation of the area to the Jerusalem Municipality. The land is currently wooded.
An urban nature study conducted by Dr Ron Frumkin found that there were 727 trees in the area covered by the plan, of which only 190 will survive. The area is described in the survey as “an open natural area with pine forests, an olive grove and agricultural areas on which there are orchards of cherry and apple trees and other crops”. The survey finds that “the development of the district is in clear conflict with the natural and landscape value of the area”.
Regardless, the plan is based on the principles of conforming to the geomorphology of the area, preserving the aqueduct, high-rise construction near the light rail line along Hebron Road and connection to the environment.
The aqueduct in the name of the plan dates from the Hasmonean period. It carried water a distance of 23 kilometers from springs near Bethlehem to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It has been nicknamed the Lower Aqueduct to distinguish it from the Upper Aqueduct which was built later in Roman times. This too provided water to Jerusalem from springs in the Bethlehem area, but passed through a higher contour.
Posted by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – January 9, 2022.
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