Dublin councilors accuse planning regulator of ‘snub’ when it refuses to attend planning meeting

Dublin’s councilors have accused the planning regulator’s office of neglecting them by turning down an invitation to a special planning meeting last evening.

Councilors have now called off the meeting, saying the OPR’s refusal to participate is an “insult to democracy”.

But the planning regulator has said that it would not be appropriate to attend a meeting with elected members in the case of a draft of the Dublin City Development Plan because the preparation process for the plan is under train, and the OPR has an independent and statutory evaluation role in that process. ,

OPR was established in 2019 at the feet of the Mahon Tribunal in Planning Matters and Payments to ensure that local authorities and en boards work within their regulatory and policy limits to support and implement Planla Government planning policy. Huh.

Cross-party councillors say the OPR has criticized many parts of its draft development plan for Dublin, and they refuse to attend the meeting.

In a statement issued by the leaders of the Group of All Political Parties and Independents on Dublin City Council, councilors say the regulator’s refusal to participate is undemocratic and that their voices should be heard in the process.

“Development plans come out once every five years and the OPR was established only in April 2019. This is the first time the development planning process, and the Dublin City Development Plan in particular, is subject to its very important statutory powers,” the statement said. stated in. ,

“The OPR makes seven recommendations in its submission which Dublin City Council, the largest local authority in the country, ‘needs to implement’, and three observations which it says should take into account.

“This would, among other things, require removal of the requirement of 40 pc apartments in build-to-rent (BTR) developments, ‘standard build to sell apartments’ and removal of restrictions on BTR schemes of less than 100 units,” it continued. Stayed.

“If councilors fail to make the necessary changes, the OPR, under law, will force Dublin City Council to comply with those recommendations. Our own town planners disagree with some of the recommendations made by the OPR but allow councilors to appear on a public forum. There is no chance to debate them.

“We requested dialogue with the OPR at City Hall to bring more transparency and accountability to the process. This request has been inexplicably denied and consequently the opportunity for democratic accountability has been lost. We have canceled Monday’s meeting as a result. and are rescheduling to meet at the time of selection of OPR,” the statement concluded.

The statement was signed by Fine Gael clerk James Geoghegan, People’s clerk Hazel de Nortuin before benefits, Sinn Féin clerk Deathy Doolan, Fianna Feil clerk Deirdre Heaney, Labor Party clerk Dermot Lacey, Green Party clerk Michael Pidgeon Huh. , Cerran Perry, clerk representing independents, and Katherine Stocker, clerk of the Social Democrats.

In response to statements made by the councillors, an OPR spokesperson said that contrary to what the DCC councilors had said, it is not the function of the OPR to compel Dublin City Council or any local authority to comply with its recommendations. Do. ,

“Rather, after our independent written evaluation of a (development) plan, which may include a recommendation to the Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, to issue a direction to the local authority to change some aspect of the plan, it It is ultimately the decision of the Minister and the legal action whether there is any direction or not,” the spokesperson said.