The general development plan ("Flächennutzungsplan", or "Plan d'aménagement géneral" – PAG) is a set of regulatory requirements in graphic and written form applicable across a given commune.
It divides the communal territory into various zones, and for each one, defines:
- how the land is to be used ("Art der Bebauung"), i.e., which types of use can be made of each plot of land (example: dwellings, economic activity, forest, and so on);
- the degree of land use ("Maß der Bebauung"), i.e., the amount of construction that can take place on each plot (e.g. the gross built-up surface area, number of houses, etc.).
Thus, the general development plan defines how the land is to be used in future, rather than how it is currently used.
Drawing up and amending a general development plan is the exclusive preserve of the board of aldermen. Citizens may, however, contact the board of aldermen in person or in writing to propose an amendment to the general development plan.
General development plans are approved by the communal council, the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister responsible for the protection of nature.
Who is concerned
Any natural or legal person who owns land or wants information about the planning permission rules applicable for a piece of land, and wants to develop a plot or a building following a purchase or reassignment, can contact the board of mayor and aldermen to propose the amendment of a general development plan.
How to proceed
Filing an application/declaration
Applicants must submit, either orally or in writing, a proposal to amend a general development plan to the board of aldermen, which will initiate the official procedure.
Publication of filed application and public enquiry
When the communal authorities initiate a procedure to amend or overhaul a general development plan, they are required to organise a public enquiry in which the public can freely participate, to provide the relevant information to the interested parties.
To do so, the communal authorities must:
- within 15 days, post the draft general development plan in the town hall, where the public can consult the plan over a period of 30 days, and also publish it on the commune's website for the same period of time;
- publish the draft plan on notices displayed throughout the commune and also in at least 4 national daily newspapers;
- organise at least one information meeting for the general public.
After publication of the draft in the national daily newspapers, persons wishing to submit their observations or objections have 30 days in which to send these in writing to the board of mayor and aldermen, which will invite them to a hearing and draw up a report.
Initial (or "provisional") vote by the communal council
The procedure for adopting a general development plan begins with a so-called "provisional" vote, followed by ministerial approval.
Once that vote has taken place, the proposed amendment or overhaul of the general development plan is displayed in the town hall, where the public can consult it over 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.
People who submitted an objection within the set legal time limit are invited to appear before the board of aldermen to resolve the disagreement.
Second (or "definitive") vote by the communal council
The communal council meets again for the second vote; after that, the draft amendment or overhaul of the general development plan is published in the town hall within 8 days of the vote, and is available for public consultation for a period of 15 days.
The persons who objected after the first vote are informed of the outcome of their objection by registered letter. From the date of that notification, they have 15 days to send an objection to the Minister for Home Affairs, if their concerns have not been resolved by the communal council.
People wishing to lodge an objection against an amendment made for the definitive vote which runs counter to their interests (whereas the draft as submitted for public scrutiny before the first vote was in line with their interests) also have 15 days to do so, from the date of publication of the draft in the wake of the second vote.
Decision of the Minister for Home Affairs
Overhauls of or amendment to general development plans must be approved by the Minister for Home Affairs.
If the Minister considers the objection well founded, he may uphold the complaint and modify the communal council's draft, finally approving the amended general development plan.
Persons who lodged a complaint with the communal council during the publication period and are not satisfied with the response from the Minister for Home Affairs may, with the assistance of a lawyer, appeal to the Court to have the decision overturned.
When the overhaul or amendment of a general development plan alters the boundary of the green zone, the Minister for the Environment must also approve the plan.