Numerous Banja Luka city parking lots, in addition to not having a use permit and a legal basis for charging, are located on plots that are still privately owned and where property rights have never been resolved.
Written by: eTrafika research team
This was shown by eTrafika’s research, whose journalists, through a survey of Banja Luka’s cadastral municipalities, established that parking lots, for example, at the Old bus station, near Palas or Talija, are only partly on city land and that these plots belong to citizens, private companies and former SCI’s these (self-governing communities of interest).
However, neither this, nor the fact that almost no parking lot has a use permit, and therefore no legal basis for charging parking and fines, which eTrafika has already written about, is not an obstacle for the City to illegally collect close to five million marks of its annual budget for parking.
“It would be the same as if someone were to park in your field or in your yard, set up a payment device and start making money from it. There is no legal basis for this until the property relations are resolved and the technical reception is done, which establishes that the space has been brought to its intended purpose”, the eTrafika source points out.
There are disputes that go on for seven or eight years, he adds, and during that time the city makes serious money on these plots.
“A look at the cadastral map shows that the parking lots are owned by someone else, and it is clear that there is no basis for charging. In addition, if you damage a car on one of them, you have no one to sue, nor is there a use permit, nor is the lot owned by the person you intend to sue. One could say that there complete chaos reigns”, says our interlocutor.
Examining the map, it is clearly seen that, for example, the parking lot near the Palace of the President of the RS in front of the Hotel Talija consists of a large number of divided plots of 150, 120, and even 11 square meters.
Some of these plots are owned by SCI housing and three belong to the “Ideal company“, while the “Vicanović company” from Laktaš has only 11 square meters in this location. This plot is split into numerous areas, so small that their owners and numbers cannot even be loaded.
At the Old Bus Station, the largest part of the land belongs to the Banja Luka “Autoprevoz”, with whom the city of Banjaluka had a dispute for years and lost, and part of the plot is owned by a certain Hamdija Smailagić. It is also interesting that all five plots of land that make up the parking lot are categorized as houses, buildings, and yards, and the largest one belongs to “Autoprevoz” as “other barren land”.
By the way, this company offered the City this summer to buy land from them in the city centre, and they estimated the value of the land with the street at a minimum of 8.6 million KM. The mayor of Banjaluka, Draško Stanivuković, told the media this summer that they are trying to find a compromise in negotiations with the owners of the plot, which also concerns parking fees.
The City’s proposal was to continue charging for parking at the same price at that location but to split the revenue in half, with the condition that “Autoprevoz” does not sue for lost profits.
In 2013, Autoprevoz sold part of this land to the company “Bewo real estate“, which was registered last year as the owner of part of the Old Bus Station, but this is not visible on the interactive map of cadastral parcels.
The parking lot at “Palas” next to the hotel towards “Tržnica” is another example of illegal charging on someone else’s land. Parts of this area have also been torn up, and among the owners are the company “Mateks“, whose area is categorized as a yard, as well as “Kontinental”, which has a construction site in this place.
The parking lot at the “Youth Center” is not owned by the City either. Its parts, those that can be seen on the map, belong to “Metal” and are categorized as a yard, while the rest is on the former SCI, also as a yard.
“These are all examples of earnings without a legal basis and with no investments. The City normally makes a profit there, natural persons do not make anything and are in dispute with the City. Of course, neither a construction nor a use permit can be issued there, because it is not their land”, says our interlocutor.
To our questions, the City Administration of Banjaluka answered curtly that the parking lot at “Kraš” is mostly “registered with the City or the legal predecessors of the City”.
“Parking at ‘Kraš’ is mostly registered with the City. For a certain part of the land, the City has initiated the resolution of property law relations, and if necessary, it will also request court protection for a smaller part of the plots or surface area. The parking lot at “Talija” is also only partially registered with the City, for the remaining part, court cases are pending, that is, for the other part, the City has initiated administrative and judicial proceedings with the Attorney General’s Office of Republika Srpska, with the aim of a permanent solution”, said the City Administration.
They further state that the parking lot at the “Old Bus Station” is covered by old and well-known disputes with “Autoprevoz” Banjaluka, the outcome of which will be known in the future.
“Property relations are resolved in accordance with current regulations, with the important fact that the City of Banjaluka built the parking lots and has owned them for many years. Bearing in mind the unresolved property relations, the technical documentation is not complete either”, said the City Administration for eTrafika.
Attorney Din Tešić says that the law defines the right of ownership as a real right to a certain thing. Only the owner has the right of possession, use, and disposal, and this can be done by a third party based on the authorization he received from the owner.
“In this case, the City of Banjaluka obviously used and managed the property in question without the authorization of the owner, and in the case of ‘Autoporevoz’ the court also decided in favour of the owner, which was the only right thing to do”, says Tešić.
He says that the question arises whether the owners will also claim their rights for compensation for damages due to the impossibility of using the land, as well as the return of the illegally acquired benefit that the City of Banjaluka gained by illegally using the land for the past 10 years.
“And other persons to whom the City of Banjaluka illegally uses land, also have the right to return the land, because the request for the return of ownership is not determined by the passage of time, and therefore in these cases, there is no statute of limitations on ownership rights. The position of the Supreme Court of Republika Srpska is clear that no one can transfer to a third party more rights than he has, nor dispose of things without a clear legal basis for acquiring ownership”, says Tešić.
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