JERUSALEM, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A small ecological settlement in the Jordan Valley has filed plans to build 170 homes and a guest house for visitors, a Jordan Valley official said.
David Lahiani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, told The Jerusalem Post the council received permission to submit zoning plans for the Rotem settlement to the Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria. Once the council approves the plans, additional approval is required from the Defense Ministry before building can begin.
The community of 30 families has lived in modular homes until now, he described the decision as "a significant step."
"Now they can build permanent homes and begin to live normal lives like all other Israeli citizens," he told the Post.
In 1984 the government authorized the establishment of Rotem, about six kilometers (3.7 miles) across the pre-1967 lines but never approved zoning plans. The site was initially used to house an Israeli army unit. The first families moved into the community in 2001.