Application for a special development plan (PAP)

Last updated more than 5 years ago

Special development plans (plans d'aménagement particuliers – PAP) implement and specify the nature and extent of land use in each zone, or part of a zone, in a commune's general development plan (plan d'aménagement général – PAG).

Thus, in a PAG under the "version 2011" scheme, all built up areas and zones marked for development must be covered by a special development plan.

Nevertheless, special development plans are subordinate to general development plans and to the commune's building regulations.

For zones earmarked for development (i.e. where there has not yet been any development), the PAP takes the form of a PAP "nouveau quartier" ("new development PAP"). For existing developed zones (such as the centre of an urban area), the PAP takes the form of a PAP "quartier existant" ("existing development PAP").

PAPs must be approved by the communal council and the Minister for Home Affairs.

Who is concerned

Any natural or legal person wishing to carry out specific work on a zone or on part of a zone defined in the general development plan can file a PAP application (example: persons owning development land covered by a PAG as a zone subject to a new development PAP).

Only the commune can apply for or amend a PAP for an existing development, i.e. an urbanised area where half the plots have been built on and where all the plots of land are connected to all public utilities and infrastructures.

The amendment of a PAP is required in the following cases:

  • a change in use of a site which requires an amendment of the general development plan;
  • development of plots classified as an area under consideration (zone à étude) / future development area (zone différée) or similar;
  • a division of several plots of land;
  • any other development project which does not comply with the PAG, the existing PAP or the commune's building regulations.

Preliminary steps

Persons wishing to file a new development PAP must:

  • hold a deed authorising them to carry out the work on the plot or plots in question. That authorisation must bear the written consent of at least half the owners, collectively owning at least half the surface area of the land in question;
  • have consulted a qualified specialist (such as a town and country planner).

How to proceed

Filing an application/declaration

Once the special development plan has been drafted, the applicant submits the file to the board of aldermen, which initiates the formal procedure for adoption of the PAP.

The adoption procedure can only move forward once the application has been submitted to the board of aldermen.

Publication of filed application

The draft special development plan is filed at the Town Hall within 15 days, where it can be consulted by the public for a period of 30 days.

The draft is also published in at least 4 national daily newspapers, and on the commune's website.

Any interested party then has 30 days to send their observations or objections in writing to the board of aldermen. Once this deadline has passed, the interested parties lose their right to object.

Single vote of the communal council

The board of aldermen submits the draft plan to the communal council to vote on, along with the evaluation given by an assessment unit and, where applicable, any observations and objections which have been submitted.

There are 3 possible outcomes:

  • either the draft plan is is adopted unchanged or it is amended in accordance with the recommendations of the assessment unit or the observations and objections;
  • or the draft plan is amended by the communal council for other reasons, in which case the whole procedure starts over;
  • or the draft plan is rejected and the case is closed.

Decision of the Minister for Home Affairs

If the draft PAP is approved by the communal council, it is then submitted to the Minister for Home Affairs. Unlike what happens with a general development plan, interested parties may not object to the decision of the Minister for Home Affairs.

Persons who lodged a complaint with the communal council during the publication period and are not satisfied by the response from the Minister for Home Affairs may, with the assistance of a lawyer, appeal to the Court to have the decision overturned.


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