Zoning at will: What the amendment to the Upper Austrian Spatial Planning Act brings – and what not
On November 12th, 2020, the federal state of Upper Austria turned over a new leaf in spatial planning and passed the amendment to the Upper Austrian Spatial Planning Act.
Spatial planning is an eternal bone of contention between landowners and municipalities – as well as a supervisory authority which endeavors to have an orderly construction and settlement development. The central instrument for this is the zoning plan: it should meet all the interests of everyone involved.
Following the fundamental principles of resource conservation, supra-regionality, densification and availability, this amendment is intended to counteract “land consumption” and “urban sprawl”. For that purpose, the amendment provides, among other things, measures that should bring about a densification and sensible settlement of commercial buildings, options for the special zoning of residential areas for social housing and, finally, measures that can be taken by municipalities against construction site hoardings. On the whole, this is balanced and appropriate.
Some requests were not taken into account – for example, the acceleration of procedures. Moreover, there is still some confusion about spatial planning agreements with which municipalities oblige landowners to use building land promptly – and pass on infrastructure costs. What is included – for example, what about contributions to the social infrastructure (kindergartens, playgrounds)? The amendment is silent on this. A clarification would be desirable.
However, the legislator does not have to answer all questions; some things are clarified in court.
13. November 2020
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