One of the ways in which the ownership right may be restricted with regard to land development is through the provisions of local law. This is because the municipality may have a local land use plan that specifies the purpose of the specific real property. However, such plans are often not in place. What does one do if this is the case? Can any construction project be carried out on the property? The simple answer to this question is “no”. If no local land use plan is in place, a specific permission should be obtained, i.e. a decision on the conditions of land development (also referred to as the development conditions decision or a “WZ” decision). Below we explain when a development conditions decision can be issued and how an investor can apply for it.
When should an application for a development conditions decision be filed?
An application for a development conditions decision should be made if no local land use plan is in place and our goal is to change the way a structure is used or to change the way a plot of land is developed by performing construction works on it, in particular by erecting a structure (for the definitions of the terms “construction works” and “structure”, please see the article entitled: “Building permit”). Moreover, it should be noted that a development conditions decision is required even if a change to the use of land does not require a building permit. A good example of such a situation is the construction of a detached house the impact area of which is limited to our plot of land and for which we do not need to obtain a building permit (a simple notification of the construction intention to the relevant authority is sufficient).
When is an application not required?
A development conditions decision does not need to be obtained for one-off, temporary changes of land use not lasting longer than one year.
What are the consequences of carrying out building works without obtaining a development conditions decision?
According to the law, if we make changes to the use of the land without having obtained a development conditions decision, an administrative body (e.g. head of the municipality or town mayor) may order the reinstatement of the previous development status (e.g. by ordering demolition) or may suspend any further use of the land until a development conditions decision is obtained.
Who issues a development conditions decision?
As a rule, a development conditions decision is issued by the head of the municipality (for towns and cities – a mayor) within the borders of which the property is located.
When can a development conditions decision be issued?
A development conditions decision will generally be issued as requested if:
- at least one adjacent building plot has access to a public road and is developed, which makes it possible to continue the existing building line;
- the plot has access to a public road;
- the utilities on the plot are sufficient for the planned investment;
- the plot is not subject to an obligation to obtain consent for changing its designation from agricultural or forest use;
- the plot is not situated in any of the following areas:
- a transmission network’s strategic investment area;
- a controlled zone (in relation to a gas pipeline);
- a safety zone (in relation to a pipeline).
Access to a public road is considered by law to be not only a direct connection of the property to the road, but also an indirect one, e.g. via a private path, accessible by right of ownership or under an easement.
How long will I wait for the decision?
According to the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure, the administrative body has one month to process the application, and in complicated cases, this time limit may be extended to two months. However, this period does not include the waiting time for other authorities to issue their opinions. In practice, investors may have to wait even several months to obtain a development conditions decision, which should be considered in the project’s time frame.
How long is the development conditions decision valid?
The development conditions decision is issued indefinitely.
Can the decision expire?
Yes, even though it is issued indefinitely, a development conditions decision can expire. It happens when:
- another applicant obtains a building permit for the area subject to the development conditions decision;
- a local land use plan is adopted, providing for a different land use than the previously issued development conditions decision; however, the decision will not expire if a final building permit for the property has been issued.
To know whether our investment project will be approved, we need to consult the local land use plan. However, if the municipality in which the property is located does not have a local land use plan in place, it is necessary to obtain a development conditions decision, which in fact replaces the plan. It is one of the conditions for carrying out a fully effective and formally sound construction process. Radkiewicz Lawyers Poland specialises in construction law and related administrative proceedings and can assist you in obtaining all decisions and permits required for your planned investment.
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