Should very high skyscrapers be built in Munich – and if so, how high should they be allowed to be? The issue has been a hot topic for some time now, and several factions in City Hall have now come out in favor of letting citizens vote on it. Since mid-May, the initiators of the “High-rise Stop” citizens’ initiative led by CSU member of parliament Robert Brannekamper and former SPD city councilor Wolfgang Czisch have also been collecting signatures against the Büschl Group’s expected 155-metre-tall twin towers in the parcel post hall in Neuhausen. They want to limit their height to 60 meters – otherwise they fear a “dam burst to the high-rise metropolis”.
A small faction in the city council will now push ahead with the clarification of the high-rise building issue. The ÖDP/Munich list has long been in favor of a council request with the aim of a referendum. “Now it’s time to take action,” said parliamentary group leader Tobias Ruff. After all, not acting means supporting the current procedure, with the plans of the investor and the citizen’s report, which is controversial for some.
That is why the parliamentary group has now submitted a wording proposal for a possible question to the citizens: “Are you in favor of the city of Munich limiting the height of buildings to 60 meters in order not to further massively aggravate the housing shortage and traffic chaos in Munich, the people of Munich Not to permanently disfigure the city silhouette and to enable climate-neutral construction?” The complex tenor is also the same as for the “High-rise stop” citizens’ initiative. The difference is that it is limited to the Büschl project and the ÖDP/Munich list has more than 60 Meter-high buildings generally want to prevent, among other things, because high-rise buildings do not offer cheap living space, cannot be built sustainably and there is no high-quality greenery around them, as Ruff said.
The citizens’ initiative “high-rise stop” is supported “fully”; but the city should take a shortcut, i.e. forestall a legitimate referendum. The political planning spokesman for the parliamentary group, Dirk Höpner (Munich List), believes that a council request can be implemented in two to three months. Of course, Ruff does not believe that the large factions in the town hall will agree with the proposed wording. But he hopes that his own advance will put the others “under pressure”. You would then have to make another suggestion.
There will be talks with the other parliamentary groups before the summer break about what such a plan could look like, said Anna Hanusch, the Greens’ planning policy coordinator. Only one thing is clear: certainly not in the way the ÖDP/Munich list suggests. The timeline should also be a topic of discussion. One question is, for example, whether to organize a vote or wait until the next election; However, that would only be the state election in autumn 2023. There is also the question of how to get as many people as possible to vote – in the 2004 Hochhausen decision, only a good one in five eligible voters voted. In terms of content, a possible Council request would have to aim to clarify the height issue in general, according to Hanusch, possibly including a sentence on the project at the parcel post hall.
The CSU parliamentary group also supports a council request. And the SPD is now also open to it. Although one still did not believe that this was the right way, faction leader Christian Müller, after all, the city council dealt intensively with design issues. However, if the other factions unite on a request for advice, it does not send a good sign if the SPD rejects this approach. This could give the wrong impression that the faction is against high-rise buildings. The topic will now be discussed at the party conference in mid-July and then talks will begin with the other factions about what a meaningful text for a Council request could look like.
The citizens’ initiative “high-rise stop” got off to a slow start, as initiator Brannekamper said. But things have been going well for two or three weeks, “the avalanche is now starting”. It is not a sure-fire success, but the initiative has become better known, and we now know which locations work well for the information stands and which less so. Brannekamper doesn’t want current numbers – also because a total of 80 people are capturing signatures. In two weeks they want to meet for the first time to check out. The activists need around 35,000 valid signatures. Her goal: to submit the signatures to the city in the fall.