Land use planning
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Planning refers to the planning of land use. The goal of planning is to enable the creation of a good and functional living environment and to increase a town's vitality. Planning determines how areas are used, construction and traffic management. Planning determines where, for example, schools, residential areas, streets or green areas will be placed. Plans are drawn up interactively with landowners and other stakeholders. City planning and land use in Finland is based on the Land Use and Building Act.
There are three planning levels:
- regional planning
- master planning
- and local detailed plan
Regional land use plans
Regional land use plans are prepared by regional councils, which also approve the plans, and are subject to ratification by the Ministry of the Environment. A regional land use plan will coordinate regional and local objectives with national objectives. Preparation of local master plans and local detailed plans is subject to the provisions of the regional land use plan.
Local master plan
A local master plan is prepared as the basis for a municipality's detailed statutory land use planning and for land use and construction, and the preparation of or amendments to local detailed plans or detailed shore plans is subject to the provisions of the local master plan. A local master plan is approved by the local council.
Local detailed plan
A local detailed plan is approved by the local council. The local detailed plan shows areas designated for different purposes (e.g. residential, employment, recreation, transport) and lays down guidelines concerning construction (e.g. location and size of buildings) and land use.
Planning process and participation
1. Planning review
A planning review is prepared once a year. The review includes all current planning projects. The planning review is based on a planning programme created along with the preparation of the budget and it is approved by the City Government. The planning review also serves as a work programme for master and city planning. The review is only indicative, the processing order of planning projects or the duration of projects is not always predictable. Some larger projects may be included in the review for several years, while some smaller, insignificant ones may never end up in the review. The planning review is based on the Land Use and Building Act (MRL §7).
2. Introduction of a plan
The introduction of plans, i.e., the start of the planning process of an individual plan, is announced in the planning review or separately by announcement or letter.
3. Participation and Assessment Plan
Participation and assessment plans are drawn up at the beginning each planning project. They includes, for example, the goals, purpose, impact assessments, planning process and contact information relative to the planning project. Participation and assessment plans are specified and supplemented during the project as needed.
Those involved in the participation and assessment plan can present their opinions throughout the duration of the introduction of the plan (MRL § 63). Opinions should be submitted during the participation and assessment plan viewing period in writing at Kaupunkisuunnittelu, PL 20, 23501 UUSIKAUPUNKI or email@example.com
If necessary, public meetings and online surveys may also be organised to receive more opinions.
Interested (involved) party is a concept in the Land Use and Building Act that refers to all parties whose conditions are affected by the planning, and with whom the planners must interact already in the initial stages of planning. Planners must ensure that the circle of participants is comprehensive regarding the effects of the plan.
Interested parties include:
- landowners of the area included in the plan
- those whose housing, work or other conditions may be affected by the planning
- authorities and communities whose line of business is being dealt with in the planning
In the draft phase, areas that will initially be reserved for different purposes and the regulations governing their use, such as building rights, are presented in the planning map. After a draft plan has been completed, the City Government consults all stakeholders and may make the draft plan available for viewing.
Drafts and related material will stay available for viewing either for 14 or 30 days, during which time interested parties can present their opinions/comments in writing (MRA 30§). Opinions/Comments regarding the draft plan should be submitted in writing before the end of the viewing period at Kirjaamo, PO Box 20, 23501 UUSIKAUPUNKI or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A plan proposal is drawn up based on the draft plan, in which the received opinions/comments regarding the draft are taken into account where possible. In accordance with Section 65 of the MRL, plan proposals are made available to the public for at least 30 days by announcement in the newspaper. During the viewing period, interested parties may submit a written objection regarding plan proposals. Objections regarding plan proposals must be submitted in writing before the end of the viewing period at the City Council at Kirjaamo, PO Box 20 23501 UUSIKAUPUNKI or email@example.com.
Plan proposals are approved by the City Council. An approval decision is followed by a 30-day appeal period, where complaints may be submitted to the Administrative Court of Turku. After an approval decision has become legally binding, the plan will be declared to have entered into force by means of another newspaper announcement.
In planning matters, complaints are handled as municipal appeals, which must be lodged at the Administrative Court of Turku, with a 30-day limit as of the date of the approval decision.
Grounds for a municipal appeal include:
- a decision has been made in the wrong order
- the authority that made the decision (council, urban planning and environmental board) has exceeded their authority or
- the decision is otherwise illegal.