The Latest Amendments to The Spatial Planning Act

On 25 January 2017, the National Assembly adopted at second reading the amendments to the Spatial Planning Act (SPA). The Amending Act to the SPA was promulgated in The State Gazette, No 13 of 7 February 2017 and entered into force. The major changes are as follows:

  • The Minister of Regional Development and Public Works and regional governors make the necessary arrangements for the maintenance of public registers of all acts concerning the preparation and approval of spatial development plans and the changes thereof, all building permits and all commissioned works;
  • In accordance with the plan under Article 16 SPA: (i) landed properties which do not meet the minimal front and area requirements may be consolidated into one or more new regulated properties provided that they have the same owners; (ii) at the request of the owners, landed properties belonging to the same persons may be consolidated into a single new regulated property or a landed property may be partitioned into two or more new regulated properties, and (iii) a co-owned regulated property may be established on two or more landed properties owned by different persons on the basis of a joint application of the owners with notarized signatures;
  • The mayor of a municipality may act at a decision of the municipal council to impose a temporary ban on the fencing of landed properties in areas designated for the construction of the first-class street network, the underground, tram or railway lines, green system facilities or waste treatment installations. The ban may be imposed only once for a period of up to three years;
  • The owners of built-up immovable properties have the obligation to connect to the existing water supply and sanitation networks and facilities. The connection has to comply with Regulation No 4 of 14 September 2004 on the terms and conditions for connecting consumers and using water supply and sanitation systems and it has to be completed on the basis of a connection contract between the consumer and the operator;
  • The terms of reference for drafting spatial development plans will not be subject to assessment of the applicability of the procedures under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) (e.g. environmental impact assessment) in the cases in which detailed development plans are drafted and they: (i) do not set any framework for investment proposals in accordance with Appendices Nos 1 and 2 of the EPA; (ii) do not refer to high-risk undertakings and installations within the meaning of the EPA, (iii) are not located within protected areas, and (iv) are in line with the contents of a master plan complying with the EPA, the Biological Diversity Act and the Cultural Heritage Act;
  • Time limits are introduced for communicating a draft detailed development plan, where the draft plan covers part of a settlement within the same neighbourhood or landed properties beyond the boundaries of settlements. Municipalities are required to inform the parties concerned within a month of the date on which the draft was lodged with the municipal administration. The municipal panel of experts is required to examine the draft within a month of the date on which the draft was lodged with the municipal administration;
  • Approved detailed development plans are published on the website of the authority which has approved them within three days of their approval;
  • Omissions or errors on the cadastral map underlying the detailed development plan constitute grounds to amend the existing plan;
  • The assessment of the compliance of a project with the major requirements to construction works is always given in a comprehensive report which is drawn up by a registered consulting company for facilities of categories one, two and three;
  • Building permits lose their legal effect in any of the following cases: (i) construction works have not started within three years of their entry into force; (ii) rough works, including roofing, have not been completed within five years of the commencement of construction works; and (iii) the technical infrastructure is not in place or rough works, including roofing, have not been completed within ten years of the commencement of construction works of national projects, projects of national importance, or projects of major municipal importance;
  • Works for which the building permit has lost its legal effect may be carried out only after the building permit is verified. Verification of the building permit may be requested by the contractor within three months of the date on which the relevant time limit expired. The building permit is verified by the issuing authority within 14 days of the date on which the application was lodged;
  • Prior to the opening of the construction site and/or the commencement of construction or demolition works, the contractor is required to submit the following documents for approval by the relevant municipality: (i) a construction waste management plan, where it is required in accordance with the Waste Management Act; and (ii) a safety and health plan;
  • The failure of a municipal official to be present on the site will not prevent the drawing up of the construction site opening statement and of a construction line and a building level;
  • The following judgments of first-instance courts on complaints or protests against individual administrative acts are final: (i) judgments on the approval or amendment of detailed development plans for projects of national importance or for projects of major municipal importance or on the refusal to issue such acts; (ii) judgments on the approval of comprehensive investment initiative projects for projects of national importance or for projects of major municipal importance or on the refusal to issue such acts; and (iii) judgments on the issuance of building permits for projects of national importance or for projects of major municipal importance or on the refusal to issue such acts.