Town planning regulation and administrative barriers in the sphere of development, design and construction
Town planning regulation is a system of legitimate activities of public bodies aimed at regulating separate elements of town planning. Town planning regulation integrates and interacts with all the institutions of management and economics: institution for planning, land-utilization, technical inventory, state cadastral registration of immovable property, state registration of title deed and institution for granting land plots for construction and others. The registration of the key principles of town planning regulation in the legislation on town planning is aimed at establishing a precise, transparent and in fact legal system of procedures and limitations for the Russian property market. The basic legislative innovations in this area are as follows:1.Municipalities should adopt land-utilization and development rules. Until 2005 the head of the local administration had the sole right to determine or change the authorized utilization form for each particular land plot. In its turn, the land-utilization and development rules, formulated in a regulatory ocument, provide population with the precise and clear-cut “game rules”, containing legal town-planning regulations, which determine the list of some authorized forms of property utilization. Thus, the Rules encourage activity and at the same time impose some limits on investors and property owners.2.A ban on granting land plots under investment agreements will come into force in 2008. Actually, an investment agreement is nothing else but a promise made by the authorities, entitled to manage land plots, to grant a land plot to an investor since he frees such a plot from third-party rights. However, while there exist registered private owners of a land plot, the law says that the plot belongs to these owners and no other person has the right to manage it. Consequently, an investor has no legal guarantees to act when signing an investment agreement and meeting its conditions to clean the title. From now on, land plots can be granted only by competitive tendering. Evidently, one can either lose tender, or win it, but pay much more for the land than it is stipulated in an investment agreement. Thus, most probably the law implementation might come up against stiff opposition from investors and the administrations, already signed long-term agreements. 3. The transition from simultaneous procedures of planning and acquiring land rights to a clear-cut sequence is completed – first, land rights should be acquired, then comes planning and designing. Thus, it helps the investor, spending money for planning, to reduce the dependence on the officials who may or may not grant land. Land rights are univocally declared primary. 4. The process of working out planning requirements was given publicity. All the planning requirements should not be worked out behind closed doors, but should be framed openly and publicly for a territory planning. It means that planning requirements are not being formulated for each particular land plot and investor, but for all the plots within a territory and should be represented in town-planning schemes of land plots – documents open to public and available to everyone. 5. All types of expert commissions on project documentation were integrated into the joint state expert commission. All ten types of departmental or specialized expert commissions on project documentation were abolished and a system of the joint state expert commission was established. It checks the compliance of project documentation with all the requirements in the area of building, sanitary, fire, industrial, nuclear and other safety. Consequently, this move greatly saves investors’ time and money to undergo an expert examination. 6. By analogy with expert commissions, all types of building inspections were united (including fire inspection, sanitary and epidemiological inspection, ecological inspection and so forth) into the joint state building inspection. A unified body of the state building inspection was established (Rostekhnadzor). 7. Furthermore, the administrative procedures for some types of construction projects were simplified. For instance, the elaboration of project ocumentation is not necessary for private accommodation construction. Private houses and some other projects (of specified area, number of storeys, purpose etc.) do not require the state expert commission on project documentation and the state building inspection. There is no need to undergo the state expert commission’s examination, when project documentation is reapplied. Also, some construction projects do not require building permission, for instance, summer cottage construction in the country. Thus, the proposed legislation measures took a considerable step towards lifting all the identified administrative barriers in property market. And now it is essential to ensure the effective and successful implementation of the legislative regulations.