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Freshly returned Patong Mayor Pian Keesin is all smiiles

Patong Mayor Fights To Lift 80 Metre Limit

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
PATONG MAYOR Pian Keesin, whose re-election has been confirmed after a month-long electoral probe, plans to push to have the 80 metre height limit on construction on Phuket lifted.

Removal of the height limit, imposed to preserve Phuket's green appearance, would trigger a building boom on parts of the island.

Khun Pian was not specific about whether the limit should shift to 100 metres or 120 metres, or be removed entirely.

Pressures to have the height limit removed is growing from developers as space in Phuket's prime construction sites along the west coast especially is filling up.

But environmentalists would resist any such move.

The chief of the Natural Resources and Environment Department of Phuket, Ong-art Chanacharnmongkol, said a bid to lift the height limit would require a change in the law.

''In his (Khun Pian's) dreams,'' Khun Ong-art told Phuketwan.

Khun Ong-art said Khun Pian had failed three times in the past to achieve a change.

Efforts have been made to more strictly enforce the law recently.

The ban has been in place on the island for five years with rare exceptions permitted, including the monumental Big Buddha, 380 metres up on Nakkerd Hill.

Owners of property above 80 metres are anxious to cash in on the Phuket building boom and argue that the height limit discriminates against them.

Land above 80 metres would certainly become more valuable if the ban is lifted.

As the head of the ruling party in the Patong tessaban Khun Pian now has the power he lacked to pursue a strong development agenda.

He is also one of the prime movers in favor of the proposed Patong Hill tunnel and a tourist cable car between Patong and the Big Buddha.

Khun Pian and the new tessaban were installed in a ceremony at Patong Municipality on Friday.

Patong is developing faster than any other part of the island.

The Blue Marine Resort recently cancelled the erection of three of nine villas in an expansion program because the villas were found to exceed the 80-metre limit.

Some developers now argues that lifting the limit to 100 metres, with less dense building allowed, would be a suitable compromise.

A five-year ban on building above 80 meters was enforced in 1997 as a way of preventing landslides.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment extended the ban in 2002 for one year and then again on October 1, 2003.

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Patong Mayor Pian Wins Despite Poll Challenge
After a month's delay for a poll challenge, Patong has a reelected mayor. Pian Keesin is likely to push the Patong Tunnel and the Big Buddha cable car; Phuket mourns five in van blast; Alert on PAD action.
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Monday September 25, 2023
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