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  • The act came into force at the very end of 2016 and introduced the concept of Strategic Housing Developments and extending the lifetime of planning permissions for certain residential development for a second time. It is expected however that the associated regulations will not come into force until mid April and only then will An Bord Pleanala be able to accept applications.

    Strategic Housing Developments involve, for a limited time-period, anew streamlined planning processes in respect of large-scale housing developments comprising 100 housing units or more or 200 or more student accommodation bedspaces allowing the making of planning applications for such developments directly to An Bord Pleanála. Importantly the Act states that such applications ‘shall’ be made to the Board and therefore there is no option involved in terms of lodging with the Council instead. Furthermore Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on March 6, 2017 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation;
    1 Comment
  • The Government have published (15.12.15) a Planning and Development (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2015 which will provide for the establishment of an independent “Office of the Planning Regulator” to maintain a constant watch over the general systems and procedures employed by planning authorities, including An Bord Pleanála and to examine and report on the content of development plans, including zoning practices of local authorities.

    The primary purpose of the Bill is to provide a legislative basis for the establishment and operation of the independent Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) which was the main recommendation of the Mahon Tribunal of Inquiry into certain planning matters and payments. Under the provisions of the Bill, the OPR will be:

    • fully independent of the Department in its day to day operations;
    • responsible for the independent assessment of all local authority and regional assembly forward planning, including the zoning decisions of local authority members in local area and development plans, to ensure compliance with relevant national and/or regional policy;
    • empowered to review the organisations, systems and procedures used by any planning authority or An Bord Pleanala in the performance of any of their planning functions under the Planning Act, including potential systemic risks of corruption and on foot of individual complaints from members of the public; and
    • enabled to drive a national research, education and public information programme on proper planning and sustainable development, and to highlight the role and benefit of planning.
    Among the other revisions to the Planning and Development Act incorporated in the Bill are provisions for:
    • a legislatively defined approach to the development of a successor strategy to the National Spatial Strategy (Mahon recommendation Number 1),
    • enhanced transparency in the planning process with submissions and observations received in respect of development plans and local area plans having to be published on planning authorities’ websites (Mahon recommendation Number 5),
    • the Chief Executive’s report on such submissions also to be published on the website of the relevant planning authority (Mahon recommendation Number 5),
    • the forwarding of any proposed grants of planning permission Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on December 21, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as:
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  • The Regulation of Lobbying Register came into effect yesterday (1st September 2015). Communications with public officials or representatives regarding the zoning or development of land must be recorded from that date. Such representatives include elected members of local authorities, Chief Executive Officers and Directors of Services, although it does not appear to mention local authority planners.

    Under the Guidelines which can be found on Lobbying.ie written submissions to a local authority as part of the formal consultation process is not lobbying; it is only communications with a designated public official outside the formal consultation process about a development plan or local area plan concerning a zoning that may be classified as lobbying.

    Making a planning application or making a submission on a planning application does not constitute lobbying under the Guidelines; it is only when a communication is made with a Designated Pubic Official about a planning application which is outside of the formal planning process that lobbying may occur.

    The Guidelines also clarify that communications seeking factual information from a local authority is not lobbying.

    Published on September 2, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as: , ,
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  • The General Scheme of the Planning and Development No.1 and No.2 Bills of 2014 have been agreed by government and published.

    The General Scheme of the Planning No.1 Bill deals with review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, vacant site levy, reduced development contributions for planning permissions yet to be activated and modification of duration of planning permissions in certain circumstances.

    The main provision in the General Scheme of the Planning No.2 Bill relates to the establishment of the Office of the Planning Regulator whose primary functions will include the assessment and evaluation of local area plans, local development plans and regional spatial and economic strategies, the provision of education and research on planning related matters, as well as investigative powers to review the organisation, systems & procedures applied by planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála in the performance of their planning functions. The General Scheme will also Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on January 30, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation;
    No Comments
  • Mr. Alan Kelly T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, has announced significant reforms of the planning system as part of the forthcoming Planning No.1 Bill. The new reforms include new Part V requirements for developers, the introduction of a vacant site levy and ‘Use it or Lose it’ clauses with planning permissions.

    The new Part V proposals will require developers to provide up to 10% of their housing units for social housing and the legislation will remove the ability of developers to account for their social housing commitments through cash payments to local authorities. The proposals will furthermore ensure that the social housing units will be located predominantly on the site of the original developments.

    The new legislation will also see the introduction of a vacant site levy whereby local authorities, in urban centres of greater than 3,000 population, will have the power to apply levies to property owners who leave their sites vacant and underutilised. The proposed levy will work by applying an annual levy at a rate of 3% of the market value to the site if the owner does not take steps to develop the site. Once in place, local authorities will have the power to apply such levies to vacant sites in areas designated for priority development under their respective local development plans.

    The Bill will also Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on October 2, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as: , ,
    No Comments
  • The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin TD recently published the Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014, the purpose of which, is to establish a web based register of lobbying activity and provide transparency on who is contacting whom about what.

    The listed lobbying activities include anyone who makes any relevant communications about the development or zoning of land under the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2014 including those paid by a client to lobby on the clients behalf. Therefore planning consultants (as well as other professions who engage in such submissions) will likely have to register on the lobbying register as its stands.

    Once registered, the lobbyist will have to make a return of their lobbying activities 3 times a year.

    Published on July 14, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as:
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  • The newly amended Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive which came into force on the 15th May 2014 seeks to offer better protection for the environment while also reducing administrative burdens.

    Based on the experience of the first 25 years of the Directive the new Directive seeks to address some of the more problematic areas and provide a more streamlined process.

    The key amendments are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on May 19, 2014 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as: , , ,
    No Comments
  • A consolidated version of planning regulations from 2001 – 2012 is now available on the Department of Environment website.  This should make life much easier for practitioners due to the myriad of regulations which have been introduced over the past 12 years resulting in a myriad of different documents.

    A link to the consolidated regulations on the DoECLG website  is provided below:

    http://www.environ.ie/en/DevelopmentHousing/PlanningDevelopment/Planning/PlanningLegislation-Overview/PlanningRegulations/

     

    Published on May 1, 2013 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation;
    No Comments
  • New planning regulations were signed into law at the end of November which reflect the European Court of Justice ruling (Case C–50/09) that Irish did not adequately transpose Article 3 of the Directive which makes the competent authority responsible for carrying out an environmental impact assessment. 

    The net effect is that there is now greater onus on the planning authority to be responsible for the quality of an EIA.  The regulations give the planning authority the tools to seek higher quality requirements from applicants.  Whilst this has occurred in practice the law now firmly confirms that it is the planning authority who is responsible for EIA, not the applicant/developer.

    Published on November 30, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as: , ,
    No Comments
  • A recent judgment delivered by Mr. Justice Hogan in the High Court (4th October 2012) has raised a very interesting issue in terms of the weight that should be placed on Article 40.5 of the Irish Constitution in terms of deciding on an application by a local authority to seeking an order to demolish a dwelling built without the benefit of planning permission.  Article 40.5 states that:

     “The dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered save in accordance with law”.

    In the case of Wicklow County Council -v- Fortune Justice Hogan was dealing with a situation where the defendant, Ms. Fortune, had constructed a small timber framed chalet approximately 70 sq. m. in size in a wooded area of high natural beauty in Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow. The Council had postponed enforcement proceedings pending a retention application by Mr. Fortune however when An Bord Pleanala ultimately refused permission for the house the Council made an application to the Circuit Court for an injunction to remove the dwelling.  The Circuit Court found in favour of the Council and ordered that the site should be demolished. The case came before Justice Hogan on appeal to the High Court.

    Justice Hogan noted in his judgement that this appeal from a decision of the Circuit Court raises “difficult and, in some respects, novel issues concerning the application of the Planning and Development Act 2000”.  One of the key issues related to the nature of the “inviolability” of the dwelling as provided for in Article 40.5 of the Constitution and to what extent, if at all, can this constitutional provision be invoked by the home owner by way of defence to an application for an injunction which would seek to compel him or her to remove an unauthorized dwelling.

    As noted by Justice Hogan Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on November 7, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Court Cases, Planning Legislation, Residentail, Rural Planning; Tagged as: , , , , ,
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  • Under the local government reform programme announced yesterday (16th September 2012) it is proposed to remove the power of councillors to direct council officials.  Under Section 140 of the Local Government Act councillors were empowered to direct officials in respect of planning functions.  This was not widely availed of but was common practice in certain counties.

    The reform programme will also see the abolition of town councils with councillors serving on county councils as representatives of ‘municipal districts’.  In other words councilors will only be elected at county level with the town councillor positions being removed altogether.

    Published on October 17, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as: , , ,
    No Comments
  • The Minister has signed off on new changes to applications for events requiring outdoor licences.  Now have to apply within 10 weeks of event instead of 16 weeks – effective 4th april 2012.

    Published on April 26, 2012 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation, Uncategorized; Tagged as:
    No Comments
  • Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2011

    These Regulations came into effect on 21st September, 2011 and relate to substitute consent*, sub-threshold planning applications (EIS) and Natura Impact Statements.

    The Regulations also brought in new requirement for Site Notices with the following wording to be included:

    “… and such submissions or observations will be considered by the planning authority in making a decision on the application. The planning authority may grant permission subject to or without conditions, or may refuse to grant permission.”

     There are also minor changes to the Planning Application Form

     * Substitute Consent is a mechanism whereby a person can apply for retrospective permission for a project that would have required an Environmental Impact Assessment, Screening for Environmental Impact Assessment or Appropriate Assessment, as appropriate.

    Published on November 25, 2011 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation, Uncategorized; Tagged as: , ,
    No Comments
  • Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2011

    These Regulations came into effect on 8th September, 2011 and deal mainly with the ECJ judgement which necessitated a reduction in the thresholds for mandatory EISs and for EIS screening for certain categories of agriculture-related projects. Specifically the Regulations:

    • Reduce the exempted development threshold for the drainage of wetlands from 20ha to 0.1ha;
    • Reduce the threshold for mandatory EIA of drainage and/or reclamation of wetlands from 20ha to 2ha; and
    • Exempt other land reclamation activities from the planning permission.

    The Regulations also introduced other amendments to the exempted development provisions as follows:

    •        To limit the provision of a hard surface in front/side garden to less than 25m2 or less than 50% of the front garden/side garden, whichever is the smaller. If larger than these thresholds, then it shall be constructed using permeable materials to allow rainwater to soak to the ground;
    •        To allow a single portable (e.g. “pay to use”) waste disposal compactor, where it is located within the curtilage of a business premises, shall not exceed 10m3, or within 50m of the curtilage of any house except where consent from the owner is given in writing; Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on November 25, 2011 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation, Rural Planning; Tagged as:
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  • Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 (Commencement) (No. 2) Order 2011

    The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 (Commencement) (No. 2) Order 2011 came into effect on 21st September, 2011. This order commenced a number of sections of the 2010 Act including, inter alia:

    The requirement to carry out an Appropriate Assessment* in preparing a Local  Area Plan

    The provision that there shall be no presumption in law that any land zoned in a particular local area plan shall remain so zoned in any subsequent local area plan.Section 12(d):

    In the event of a re-advertisement of Further Information, the relevant period is 4 weeks from the receipt of the notice by the Planning Authority (or 8 weeks in the case of an EIS of a NIS**):

    *Appropriate Assessment refers to the assessment of the impact of a proposed development on Natura 2000 sites (SACs and SPAs)

    **Natura Impact Study – study carried out where appropriate assessment screening establishes that a proposed development is likely to have a potential impact on a Natura 2000 site.

    Published on November 21, 2011 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation; Tagged as: , ,
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  • The Minister signed the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 (Commencement) (No.3) (Order 2011) on the 16th November 2011. This Order commences sections 74 and 75 of the Planning and Development Act (Amendment) Act 2010 which amends section 261, and insert a new section 261A, into the Planning and Development Act 2000. 

    This new legislation arises from the Derrybrien windfarm case where in 2008, the European Court of Justice ruled that Ireland was in breach of EU law in permitting retention permission for projects accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment. Following the ruling, the Minister issued a Circular which advised that retention permission for developments requiring EIA should not be granted after 3rd July 2008. 

    The “Substitute Consent” procedure in the 2010 Act seeks to provide a mechanism whereby the position in respect of EIA development can be regularized – however leave to apply for consent from An Bord Pleanala is only allowed in exceptional circumstances (i.e. a planning permission found defective by a court).

    In the specific case of quarries there will be a sunset period whereby quarry owners will be given a last opportunity to regularize any unauthorized works without having to meet the exceptional circumstances test.  The Act also seeks to require that such works are regularized under s.74 and s.75 of the Act. Read the rest of this entry »

    Published on November 21, 2011 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Planning Legislation, Rural Planning; Tagged as: , , ,
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