Construction Law and Urban Planning

Government Emergency Ordinance no. 100/2016 for amending the legal framework for urban planning and authorizing construction works

Significant amendments to existing laws governing the authorization of construction works and in the field of urban planning became effective on December 27, 2016 as of entry into force of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 100/2016 (the “Ordinance”) published in the Romanian Official Gazette on the same date.

The new regulations create more stringent limitations on amending an urban planning regime applicable to real estate property. Also, the amended act provides greater transparency in urban planning documentation, and it reduces the bureaucracy involved in obtaining a building permit.

The most relevant amendments to the provisions of Law no. 350/2001 on urban planning and Law no. 50/1991 on authorizing construction works concern the following:

  1. Limitations on the issuance of new Zonal Urban Plans

According to the recently enacted rules, a new, separate Zonal Urban Plan (in Romanian plan urbanistic zonal – PUZ) for an intra-muros area is allowed only if the area is bordered by at least three public roads or by permanent natural borders.

  1. Limitations of Zonal Urban Plans issuance on extra-muros

Zonal Urban Plans for expanding intra-muros areas may only be developed for those plots located outside of built-up areas (extra-muros) having a minimum surface of 5,000 sq.m. and only if such plots are adjoining to intra-muros areas.

However, Zonal Urban Plans that include plots outside of built-up areas in the intra-muros category may be approved without observance of the aforementioned conditions if: (i) access infrastructure and utilities necessary for developing a project are already in place, or (ii) the necessary infrastructure and utilities will be developed together with the project.

  1. Requirements for building permit issuance following approvals of new Zonal Urban Plans or Detailed Urban Plans

Following the approval of a Zonal Urban Plan, in order to obtain a building permit the applicant must first obtain a new Urbanism Certificate, issued after the approval of the respective Zonal Urban Plan.

However, with respect to obtaining a building permit following the approval of a Detailed Urban Plan the law expressly states that in such case it is not necessary to obtain a new Urbanism Certificate.

  1. Limitations on land use coefficient supplementation

The Ordinance provides an exhaustive list of situations for which the land use coefficient (in Romanian coeficient de utilizare a terenului – CUT) can be supplemented by up to 20%, respectively for industrial parks, technological parks, supermarkets, hypermarkets, retail parks, and service areas.

  1. Clarifications on the validity of urban planning documentation

The amended provisions of Law no. 350/2001 establish that if the competent authorities do not provide a validity period for urban planning documentation, the respective documentation remains valid until the new urbanism documentation needed to amend or replace the previous plan is approved.

Additionally, according to the recently entered into force Ordinance the validity of urban planning documentation is extended de jure until the authorized works for which the Urbanism Certificate was issued has been completed.

  1. Provisions for transparency, bureaucracy reduction and e-governance

The local authorities responsible for approving urban planning documentation and plans are required to publish all such documentation, including on the authorities’ websites.

For the purpose of simplifying the administrative procedures for obtaining all permits and approvals required by the Urbanism Certificate, the ordinance allows an applicant to obtain all such permits and approvals, except the environmental permit, based on a file registered with a single office established within those administrative units where a commission for single approvals is set in place.

Additionally, the aformentioned regulations provide the obligation for relevant public authorities to ensure all necessary conditions for online registration of the documents required for the issuance of urbanism certificates and building/demolition permits. In order to comply with such obligation, the authorities are granted a three-year term as of entry into force of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 100/2016.

  1. New thresholds for fines and statute of limitations

The amount of the fines that can be imposed for the breach of Law’s no. 351/2000 provisions on urban planning have been greatly increased. The lower limit is increased by a factor of ten, from RON 1,000 to RON 10,000, while the upper limit increases from RON 10,000 to RON 50,000.

Also, the statute of limitations for enforcement of the sanctions provided under Law no. 50/1991 on authorizing construction works was raised from three to five years.

 

Should you have any questions or need further information in relation the above, please contact our Senior Partner, Andrei Albulescu, at andrei.albulescu@stratulat-albulescu.ro or call the Stratulat Albulescu Attorneys at Law office on +40 (21) 316 87 49.

Stratulat Albulescu - Attorneys at law