Solar panels covered the roof of the Kaník Hotel in Banská Štiavnica. Without the permission of the preservationists

In the UNESCO site, which is Banská Štiavnica, the strictest protection rules apply, they do not count on photovoltaics. Kaníkovci defend themselves with arguments about the energy crisis.

BANSKÁ ŠTIAVNICA: The roof of the hotel in the historic center of Banská Štiavnica, which is owned by the ex-Minister of Labor under SDKÚ Ľudovít Kaník and his wife Darina, was covered with dark photovoltaic panels. Monument owners respond that their settlement in the local monument reserve and site under UNESCO protection is inadmissible. Kaníkovci already in the past

came into conflict with preservationists when they were rebuilding the hotel beyond the scope of the project for which they received approval.Pamiatkari: It is a foreign element “The owners of the hotel did not consult with the Banská Bystrica Regional Monuments Office about the placement of technical equipment on the roof of the Grand Matej hotel in the territory of the monument reserve, nor did they ask for a decision to be issued in accordance with the Act on Monument Care,” reads the opinion of the preservationists regarding the current installation of solar panels. The regional preservationists respond to Aktuality that they are the ones who decide whether and under what conditions the installation of such a device in the monument area is possible. At the same time, the principles of protection of the Banská Štiavnica monument reserve require the maximum degree of preservation of authenticity. “Practically every object has a typical overview, which contributes to the color of the city. This fact also results in requirements for the protection of the rooftop landscape,” the preservationists quote from the principles. When making decisions, they are guided by the recommendation from 2012, according to which photovoltaic cells act “foreign to aggressive” in the environment of monuments due to their flatness and technical design. They also emphasize that the construction of these facilities is not permitted in UNESCO World Heritage sites, one of which is Banská Štiavnica. At the same time, the Slovak Republic undertook to protect the world heritage on its territory. They did not find anything like that in the law The owner of the well-known Banská Štiavnice hotel is the HGM company, in which the Kaníkovci couple are partners. They explain the installation of photovoltaic panels by increasing electricity prices. “The energy crisis is a real fact to which we must respond adequately. If we didn’t do that, the electricity prices would lead us to end operations, lay off employees and close the hotel,” responds company manager Darina Kaníková. When asked why they did not ask for permission from the preservationists, he answers that the hotel itself is not a cultural monument. “Nevertheless, we investigated whether it is possible, from the point of view of the law, to install photovoltaic panels on the roof of the hotel. We did not find photovoltaics included in the list of technical equipment of buildings in any law,” explains why they believe that panels are not the kind of technical equipment mentioned in the monument law. “We believe that the opinion of the regional monument office is not required by law for their installation. As it is not issued, for example, for the installation of antennas to receive a terrestrial or satellite signal,” says the co-owner of the hotel. Memorialists claim that the panels negatively affected views of the rooftop landscape of the historic city, Kaníkovci disagree. The Regional Monuments Office plans to start proceedings for correction and also proceedings for another administrative offense. If a violation of the law is proven, there is a risk of a fine, up to double in the case of a UNESCO site. We asked the owners of the hotel whether they will remove the panels from the roof if the preservationists insist on it. They did not answer directly. However, after consulting with lawyers, they believe that the ban on the use of photovoltaic solar panels in historic areas by the state is a limitation of the property right guaranteed by the constitution, which is only possible for an adequate compensation. “Owners of cultural monuments and residents of protected areas cannot be punished and restricted in their rights for living in protected areas,” they think. They also defend themselves by saying that their hotel is not the first building with solar panels in the historic center of Banská Štiavnica. .(The article continues below the photo.)

Head of preservationists: We protect only a fraction of buildings The topic of photovoltaics is currently also being dealt with in connection with the energy crisis by the Central Monuments Office of the Slovak Republic. Its general director Pavol Ižvolt confirmed for Aktuality that these days they are processing the update of the used methodological instruction from 2012, and they want to complete it by the end of November. Czech preservationists have only recently published
methodology on this topic. “I don’t want to get ahead of the conclusions of the upcoming update, but we have tentatively found agreement, for example, in that we would agree to a looser regime in protective zones and the placement of solar panels on flat roofs, but this is still in the phase of expert discussion,” Ižvolt suggests. He reminds, however, that in UNESCO sites, such as Banská Štiavnica, protection should continue to be the strictest. “We understand the requirements for alternative energy sources, on the other hand, only a very small number of buildings from the total construction fund are protected by the monument law. As a society, we have decided to protect a small part of our architectural heritage, including its visual-aesthetic qualities,” he notes. At the same time, the head of the Slovak preservationists would consider it correct if the state, within the framework of the new energy policy, would compensate the ownership of monuments and the damage caused by the owner by the restrictions that result from the requirements of monument protection.

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