The Security Service of Ukraine* Hindered the Availability of Zhytomyr's Comprehensive City Plans
During its monitoring activities about the unavailability to citizens of master plans of cities in Ukraine, the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives received information about the role played in the Zhytomyr region by the Security Service of Ukraine.
The formal reason given for the unavailability of the comprehensive city plans in the Zhytomyr Oblast was that the documents were classified with the stamp "For Official Use Only." However, it has now been learned that employees of the Security Service of Ukraine also contributed to the withholding of this public information.
The Korosten City Council Chairman and Mayor of the City, Volodymyr Moskalenko, informed the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives about the conduct of employees of the regional Security Service organization when the City Council wanted to comply with regulations dealing with business information and access to the general plans of cities.
"Due to the fact that the materials [master plan documents of the city] were not made public, we managed to avoid misunderstandings with the service on this issue," says the Mayor of Korosten.
Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, Head of the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives, expressed surprise at the actions of the Zhytomyr Regional Security Service organization:
"We used to think that the Security Service were working professionals who at minimum knew the law. Zhytomyr should have known about the decision made by Ministry of Defense to remove the stamp "For Official Use Only" from documents. The same Ministry in September 2013 overturned the requirement to use this stamp on the mapping component of city plans. In addition, to ensure that citizens have access to comprehensive city plans, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Alexander Vilkul mandated that plans are to be made available to them. The fact that the Regional Security Service in the Zhytomyr region works against the efforts of the central government to make land acquisition and building processes more transparent and open to citizens is surprising."
* (from Wikipedia….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Service_of_Ukraine)
"The Security Service of Ukraine is vested, within its competence defined by law, with the protection of national sovereignty, constitutional order, territorial integrity, economical, scientific, technical, and defense potential of Ukraine, legal interests of the state, and civil rights, from intelligence and subversion activities of foreign special services and from unlawful interference attempted by certain organizations, groups and individuals, as well with ensuring the protection of state secrets."
The activities of the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives are aimed at ensuring the availability of comprehensive city plans for citizens. This work is part of the project, "Final Steps for Access to General Plans of the City for Citizens of Ukraine and Advocacy Support for the Declassification of Comprehensive City Plans and the Elimination of Corruption in Urban Planning." The work is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation's Rule of Law Program and is also supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.