The Malta Independent 4 December 2023, Monday
View E-Paper

PN submits proposed amendments to regularization scheme

Friday, 19 May 2023, 17:13 Last update: about 8 months ago

The Nationalist Party has submitted its proposals to amend a legal notice intended to allow owners of certain properties, that extend partially onto ODZ land, to regularize them should there be any regularities.

The statement was authored by Stanley Zammit, the PN Spokesperson for Planning, Research and Innovation.

The Planning Authority (PA) had finalized the proposal to amend the regularization scheme in April, enabling pre-2016 properties, with a site perimeter that extends partially outside of the development boundaries but are still covered by a permit, to be regularized.

ADVERTISEMENT

The changes widened the controversial 2016 regularization scheme, which permits property owners to pay to regularize illegal developments that couldn't be sanctioned under existing policies at the time. The Regularization of Existing Development Regulations were introduced in August 2016 and give property owners with unsanctionable, non-conformant, development located entirely within the development boundaries, the opportunity to regularize their development.

The PN said that their amendments were meant to clarify "the criteria of where and what type of development can be regularized, so that the process is clear, transparent and based on good governance."

"The PN is against all abuse and will continue to work for there to be fairness and protection in the workplace," the statement carried on.

The PN said that it understands that certain property owners are not in a position to stay in the market or acquire bank credit for their property due to non-punishable illegalities that may have occurred before 2016 and therefore agrees that certain "applications should be accepted for regularization of genuine cases of pre-2016 properties."

However, the statement continued by saying that "due to a lack of definitions and because the test in the scheme does not set any limit to the area that extends outside the development (ODZ), the Legal Notice allows for a wide interpretation that rewards those who abuse the law, by enabling abusers to pay some penalty in lieu of curbing their abuse. This undermines the rule of law," the statement said.

The PN believes that it should be considered whether the regularization scheme should take place in Natura 2000 sites, in areas of historical relevance and/or in areas of cultural heritage instead of only in cases where "the development does not constitute damage to the amenity."

"The time has come for our country to no longer consider development an activity that needs to be done at any cost but, rather, should seek to implement truly sustainable development that protects the environment and ODZ land," the statement read.

 


  • don't miss