Large housing plan faces delays, case sent to Europe
Plans to develop hundreds of new homes in southern Dublin city center could face delays after the High Court referred a legal challenge to the European Court of Justice.
Local residents had opposed rental construction plans comprising 416 units spread over five blocks ranging from two stories to 16 stories on the former industrial sites of Player Wills / Bailey Gibson, off South Circular Road.
The An Bord Pleanála Principal Planning Inspector recommended that the request be refused on August 20, 2020. However, the council did not agree and granted the authorization on September 14, 2020, under accelerated town planning legislation.
Local residents had initiated judicial review proceedings to overturn the council’s decision.
The applicants also requested a declaration that section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 was invalid because it was contrary to EU law, in particular the Habitats Directive 92/43 / EEC and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive 2014/52 / EU grounds that mandatory guidelines under this article interfere with the process of appropriate assessment or environmental impact assessment ‘environment.
In the High Court, Judge Richard Humphreys dismissed the residents’ challenge under Irish law.
However, he decided that three questions relating to EU law should be directed to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The issues before Europe relate to guidelines to ensure that development plans and regulations are subject to environmental assessment.
The first question to ask is whether “Article 2 (a) of Directive 2001/42 / EC has the effect that the concept of” plans and programs … as well as any modification thereof … which are subject to to be prepared and / or adopted by an authority at national, regional or local level… ”includes a plan or program that is jointly developed and / or adopted by an authority at the local level and a private sector developer as the land owner adjacent to those held by a local authority ”.
The second question to be asked is whether Article 3 (2) (a) of Directive 2001/42 / EC has the effect that the concept of ‘plans and programs … which are prepared for agriculture , forestry, fishing, energy, industry, transport, waste management, water management, telecommunications, tourism, town planning or land use planning and which define the framework of the future development agreement for the projects listed in Annexes I and II of Directive 85/337 / EEC… ”includes a plan or program which is not in itself binding but which is expressly provided for in a binding statutory development plan, or which in fact proposes or envisages an amendment of a plan itself subject to a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) ”.
The High Court also referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union a question as to whether Article 2 (1) of Directive 2011/92 / EU “has the effect of excluding the taking into account account by the competent authority in the environmental impact assessment process. mandatory government policies, in particular those which are not based exclusively on environmental criteria, being policies which define in certain circumstances situations in which the granting of an authorization is not to be excluded ”.