Mangalsala. There are dozens of hectares of forest property between Freeport, old factories and the Gulf of Riga. Historically, they were inherited by families whose ancestors were fishermen. They were used as prototypes for their novel Fisherman's son Vilis Lācis. The story tells us that fishermen were given land by the baron of gratitude for the life he had saved.
Seaside Nature Park is located along the coast. Next to it, 5 hectares belong to the Latvian language teacher Vija Sondores of the Āgenskalns High School. The teacher, her sister and mother have picturesque nooks of pine, juniper and protected plants.
According to her payments to the Riga City Council, which was sent by the Ministry of Municipality Revenue, forest owners paid 18 and 14 cents every five months for five hectares.
It was a great surprise to them when, two years ago, the City Council's financial department sent a letter stating that the tax would increase significantly. Vija Sondore only learned that the family forest was not a forest plan in the council, but in 2006 it was transformed into land on which private homes, multi-storey buildings and shopping centers can be built. This was achieved by adopting the current Riga City Development Plan.
Suddenly, the family of teachers suddenly challenged the decision of the finance department to impose a significantly higher tax on their forest and questioned the forest zoning without their admission to court. First in the administrative district then in the district court. Both landowners had a negative judgment. The Supreme Court case is expected to be soon. Vija Sondore judges without lawyers and lawyers because they can't afford it.
Vicemer Oleg Burow has not heard of the strangeness in Mangalsala Forest, but nothing personal promises to find out if the Council has acted correctly.
Persons responsible for forest owners are responsible for the urban development department. They had to follow what had happened to their countries. Inese Sirmā ministry representative Nothing personal suggests that owners have been engaged in or have not been paying increased land tax for years for years, and therefore want to organize a public scandal.
Although urban development experts believe that the Vija Sondores family wanted to avoid paying taxes, nothing that the family has at the Riga City Council does not confirm that in recent years the tax has been consistently low – EUR 18 per year. The city council's finance department explains more about what happened.
The written answer merely states the legal arguments that the territorial breakdown of the land has changed since 2006 and that the tax is therefore intended for construction. Why this happens only 11 years after the changes in the department do not explain.
Teacher Vija Sondore and her family are not the only owners who have received a warning about a sudden tax increase in 2017. The letter also came to the owners who founded the Mangalsala community. They reacted much faster by connecting lawyers to solve the problem.
They were also surprised that the family forest is an area that can be built since 2006. The change of plan was not changed, but the family made the lowest possible tax. Whatever it may be, costs are much higher. And family members also considered whether the forest should be sold.
Right next to the family property of the Vija Sondore family, there are 8 hectares of forests, which in recent years have belonged to several companies related to entrepreneurs from Russia and Germany. A year ago, Inguss Vircavs, the head of the Riga Building Council, published a document that allowed a detailed plan to be launched.
The application was lodged by "Alfa Property Purvciems" and a Peteris Strancis authorized person. He was once the director of the City Development Department at Riga City Council, accused of bribery for which Strancis spent more than four years in prison. Probably just a coincidence, but the owners of neighboring countries in Riga's city council suddenly decide to significantly increase taxes when Strancis filed his application to Vircavam.
If the inherited forest owner Vija Sondore loses the fight for the family forest at the Supreme Court, he is considering contacting the State Environmental Bureau. And try to repair the microreserve in the woods. This, of course, will not abolish the high taxes imposed by the Riga City Council, which the family of teachers cannot afford to pay.
On the other hand, the financial department in a letter to TV3 assures – raising taxes does not mean that the country will immediately begin construction or land must be sold. What happens to the property, but it's just the trade of its current owner.