December 2011 – the year ends with progress

In the first week, not such good news on the DUP. We are told by a local contact, Billie, that the Škupstina decided only to approve amendments to the current DUP, and not to accept the new one. She advises that we can go ahead anyway with an application for UTUs (UTUs are Urbanističko Tehnički Uslovi = urbanistic technical requirements). UTUs are specified by the municipal planning department and give the basic technical requirements which the building MUST comply with. Generally this means not only the ratios of footprint and total living space to plot size, but also minimum structural requirements (eg earthquake proofing), any specific design requirements (eg type of roof) &c &c. Apparently they also give useful info such as rainfall statistics. We have never seen a set of UTUs but Billie says they are usually about 5 pages, and normally take about a month to come through. Given the normal bureaucratic forms here we suspect that much of that contains references to various laws and regulations!
We do as she recommends and the UTU application is lodged on 20 Dec. A week later, Billie tells us unofficially that we will be allowed the maximum footprint on our plot and not restricted to that of ‘Le Beton’, which was one of the possibilities. The official paperwork has still to be processed (by the water, electricity &c authorities) and should be ready in the second part of January, as expected. A great way to end the year!

Among all this we spend a few days in Rome to celebrate our wedding anniversary – easy flight from Dubrovnik via Zagreb, with a direct return flight. We stay in the delightful Hotel Abruzzi in the Piazza della Rotonda, opposite the Pantheon. Anke’s first time in the Eternal City; James had been taken as a snotty teenager by his mother, and had spent a day there on business about 20 years ago, so this trip is a real voyage of discovery. We even see the Pope in his Pope-mobile as he passes about 3m away on his way to a service to celebrate the Immaculate Conception.