On 25th November the Parliament of Andalusia approved new planning laws in a move welcomed by homeowner’s associations as “long overdue”.
Simplified Town Plans
The Ley de Impulso y Sostenibilidad del Territoria de Andalucia (LISTA) unifies, modifies and repeals various laws and regulations, including the Ley de Ordenacion Urbanistica de Andalucía (LOUA) in an effort to streamline procedures and thus reduce the time taken to approve town plans.
According to government estimates three in every five municipalities in Andalusia currently lack a town plan and many have been trying to get their plans approved for more than 10 years. The government hopes that the LISTA will reduce this timeframe to two years and triple the number of plans in progress.
Simplified Land Classifications
The new land law simplifies the classification of land into urban (urbano) or not urban (rustico), eliminating the classification of land as urbanizable (suelo urbanizable).
Construction in the campo
The LISTA absolutely prohibits construction on protected land but, controversially for some, leaves the door open to the construction of a family home on rustic land in certain circumstances not necessarily linked to agriculture or tourism.
Houses on protected land
These can now become regularised through what is called an “AFO” assuming the relevant time period has passed, and other conditions are met.
Speaking on behalf of various homeowners’ associations in Andalucía, the lawyer Gerardo Vazquez welcomed the new law saying that whilst it incorporated previous reforms it also contained important improvements given that irregular houses could now be consolidated and reformed whereas before they could only be repaired.
But he tempered his remarks by highlighting the need to quickly set out the regulations in order to detail how the new laws will work in practice and his hope that the associations would be allowed to play a part in their development.
He also warned that the success or failure of the new law will depend on the attitude of the town halls and their technicians. “The biggest problem at the moment is that some town halls and their technical services seem reluctant to apply new regulations. It seems that some of them are living in the past and the old cumbersome and bureaucratic way of doing things.
Iunderstand that the duty of the local administration is to facilitate the regularization of housing to the greatest extent legally possible, since that is precisely the spirit of this new law. A law that we hope will be a total renovation of Andalusian urban planning, that is to say that we believe it represents a brighter and more hopeful present and future, provided it is applied properly and with real enthusiasm. We certainly hope so”.