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Development of public beaches sparks outrage in Lebanon

The opening of the Lancaster Eden Bay Hotel on the Beirut coast was inaugurated despite allegations that it did not have an occupancy permit from the municipality.

BEIRUT — Lancaster Eden Bay Hotel opened June 25 on Ramlet al-Baida seashore in Beirut, despite all the legal conflicts that occurred with the construction of the project. It had an invalid building permit, and the municipality of Beirut did not grant the hotel an occupancy permit. However, project owner Wissam Achour insisted on opening the hotel as a fait accompli.

On May 9, Nahnoo — an NGO founded in 2009 that works to protect public property and cultural heritage in Lebanon — published a report by the municipality’s engineering department on Lancaster Eden Bay Hotel. The report stressed that the occupancy permit could not be obtained until certain conditions were met. The project had eight violations to the building permit it originally obtained from Beirut Gov. Ziad Shebib in September 2016. The construction needed certain adjustments, and all violations needed to be demolished in order to obtain an occupancy permit, according to the report.

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