On 24 September, part of the amendment to the Law on Planning and Spatial Development comes into force
The amendment, which is widely regarded as revolutionary, will be introduced into Polish law in stages. The first will come into force as early as 24 September 2023. From the moment the amendment takes effect, new regulations will apply to new investments, among other things, as to how development conditions will be established.
Key changes from 24 September
- General plan instead of the municipality’s spatial planning study. The general plan replaces the study on the conditions and directions of spatial development of the municipality as regards the implementation of spatial policy. Its adoption will be obligatory and, unlike the study, it will constitute an act of local law. It will be a document containing only basic arrangements, designating land use and functional zones. The arrangements contained in the general plan will be binding both for local plans and for decisions on development conditions.
- Development plan. Unlike the master plan, its adoption will be optional. Its purpose is to set out the rules for development in built-up areas.
- Simplified public consultations. A number of changes have been introduced with the ultimate aim of increasing and facilitating public participation in planning activities by, among other things, providing for the possibility of remote participation or allowing consultations to take place also after office hours.
- Integrated investment plan drawn up at the request of the developer. The integrated investment plan is intended to supplement, and from 1 January 2026 completely replace, the resolution on the location of a residential development. It is to be a special form of local plan and cover the investment area. It will be drawn up at the request of the investor and adopted in the form of a resolution of the municipal council. Its adoption will cause the local plans in the area covered by the MIP to lose their force. However, it will still have to be consistent with the general plan. In order to adopt the ZPI, it is necessary for the municipality to conclude a so-called urban planning agreement with the investor. In this agreement, the investor undertakes to carry out a supplementary investment for the benefit of the municipality and may assume a number of obligations, e.g. to dispose of real estate for the benefit of the municipality, to cover the costs of carrying out the supplementary investment or the costs of preparing or adopting the ZPI.
- New rules for establishing development conditions.
Investors who apply for zoning decisions (popular “wuzets”, WZ) after 24 September will be able to take advantage of the new regulations, albeit still with certain restrictions (full implementation of the regulations will take place from 1 January 2026). The amendment stipulates that zoning decisions will be linked to the municipality’s general plan to prevent chaotic development and spatial chaos. New WZs will be valid for five years from the date they become legally valid. During this time, the investor must obtain a building permit or start the development.
Impact of the Act
The legislator’s intentions are ambitious, but only practice will show whether the changes introduced will prove sufficient to bring order to the complex planning system at local authority level, as well as to prevent investment chaos. Certainly, investors face new challenges to adapt their business model to the introduced regulations.
We would like to remind you that specialists in our law firm’s real estate department provide specialised investment planning advice to entrepreneurs and real estate operators in Poland.