File pic: The main change is the extension of the statutory public consultation periods in the Planning Acts by an additional three weeks and two days from the date of the order
A number of changes have been made to planning legislation which will affect the length of public consultation processes here, as a result of the Covid-19 process.
Following yesterday's Government approval of a number of orders under Section 9 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid 19) Act 2020, the main change is the extension of the statutory public consultation periods in the Planning Acts by an additional three weeks and two days from the date of the order, covering the period to April 20. The impact on the time taken to process a planning application is as follows:
If a planning application was lodged on or before February 21 last, the public participation phase is completed, and so Kilkenny County Council can make a decision within the extended deadline;
If a planning application was lodged after that date, but before March 29, the decision cannot be made until after April 20 next to ensure that the public participation element has been completed;
Any planning application lodged after March 29 cannot be decided by Kilkenny County Council until the five-week period for public consultation on the application has expired, which will now be May 26 next.
The planning authority will have the normal period of eight weeks, together with an additional period of up to three weeks and two days i.e. up to eleven weeks and two days in total, to determine a planning application.
Appeals to An Bord Pleanala
Decisions made by Kilkenny County Council may be appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The appeal period is extended by the duration of the Order.
During the period of the Order where the planning application was submitted to Kilkenny County Council at least five weeks prior to the date of commencement of the Order, an appeal may be made to An Bord Pleanála. The four-week period in which the appeal may be made, shall be extended by up to the period of duration of the Order remaining on the date of the decision.
The Order has the effect of extending the timelines within which decisions can be made under the following:
The Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended;
The Derelicts Sites Act, 1990;
The Vacant Sites Levy; and
Strategic Housing Developments.
Given the new restrictions on movement, the council says it is important that the public participation periods in the planning system are extended to ensure that the integrity of decision making is upheld. This also means that Kilkenny County Council can continue to operate the planning system through these new restrictions, subject to adherence to public health advice.
Planning applications can continue to be made by post and submissions can continue to be made by post and electronic means. Pre-planning meetings are still being held - over the phone and planning applications can still be viewed online.
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