zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:54 am

Monaghan county manager warns over rezonings

Monaghan county manager warns over rezonings
Frank McDonald, Environment Editor

Monaghan county manager Declan Nelson has warned councillors that their draft development plan could be "called in" by the Department of the Environment as a result of rezoning decisions made against planning advice.

Some of the draft rezonings adopted by substantial majorities at a council meeting last Wednesday were strongly opposed by the planners on the basis that they could result in flooding, undermine the town centre of Clones or prejudice reopening the Ulster Canal.

The meeting took place on the same day that Minister of State for Finance Tom Parlon inaugurated an Office of Public Works flood mapping website (http://www.floodmaps.ie) and warned that inappropriate development in flood-plain areas had the potential to cause "severe hardship".

Two days after last week's rezonings, a parcel of land outside Clones, which the councillors had voted to rezone for "commercial/bulk retail" use, including a garden centre against planners' advice, was put up for sale.

Up to 80 per cent of the 367 written submissions on the draft county development plan came from landowners seeking to have land rezoned. In many cases, the councillors obliged, often voting 18 to one in favour.

"The planners' recommendations on the 18 most controversial rezoning proposals [ for the Clones and Ballybay areas] fell like a bag of spuds, councillor Vincent P Martin, the sole Independent member of the county council who voted against most of them, said yesterday.

He told The Irish Times that councillors had been lobbied intensively to vote in favour of several rezonings. By agreeing to do so, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin members had "rubbished" two years of work by the planners, he said.

Hugh McElvaney, leader of the Fine Gael group which voted for most of the rezonings, said yesterday he believed that the council officials had been slow to encourage development in the past.

"This is an opportunity to do that and the people of Co Monaghan will either be advantaged or disadvantaged by the adoption of the plan."

Attempts to contact the mayor of Co Monaghan, councillor Pádraig McNally (FF), were unsuccessful.

The draft county plan will be considered at a resumed meeting of the council in Carrickmacross tomorrow.

Mr Jackson said "too many localised commitments are being taken on board" contrary to the public interest in proper planning.

He cited the case of the fire-damaged Riverdale Hotel in Ballybay, where the owners had sought to have land in the floodplain of the Dromore river rezoned for housing that would be "built on stilts" to protect it from flooding in the future.

Senior planner Adrian Hughes said this was a clear indication that the land was unsuitable for housing. He also pointed out that provision had already been made in the draft plan for more than 1,500 houses in Ballybay, in areas not prone to flooding.

Although he strongly recommended that the town's development boundary should not be extended to include the floodplain land, citing "an unacceptable risk of flooding downstream", the council decided by 17 votes to nil, with two abstentions, to rezone it.
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby McTavish » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:08 pm

With regards the re-zoning in Monaghan it is most interesting to witness the strange "dance" of the locally elected counciler. The local Counciller is an unusual breed and one must learn to read in intricate detail the various moves, turns, and swings that they go through during the 6 year cycle of county and draft devlopment plans particularly on the re-zoning of lands. (note that similar moves are to be witnessed during times of local election). It will be interesting to see whether the local concerned voices from around the villages will be heard and listened to, (The concerned local voices around the Hospital issue certainly have not and are not being listned to) Those in Iniskeen are very understandably concerned that the re-zoning of lands around their village could result in the construction of over a thousand new houses. Again look out for the various moves and particular silent voices of some of the councilers on this issue. As we know the re-zoning of land in Ireland has an interesting recent history. Interesting times in Monaghan indeed.
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:41 am

hopefully sense will prevail


Roche threatens to scrap Monaghan county plan over rezoning risks

Olivia Kelly

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche has threatened to scrap Monaghan County Council's development plan because councillors have rezoned enough land to almost triple the population of the county and create "serious flooding" risks.

A letter, seen by The Irish Times , written on behalf of Mr Roche to the manager of the council, Declan Nelson, warns that unless the development plan is changed, the council could be forced to adopt a plan devised for it by the department.

County development plans are initially devised by the council's planners in line with national guidelines in relation to housing, spatial and planning strategies, and are usually amended by the councillors before they ratify the plan.

Last October councillors amended the draft Monaghan County Development Plan to adopt a large number of additional rezonings, against the advice of the planners.

Mr Nelson at this point warned councillors that there was a risk Mr Roche would not allow the plan to stand. A strongly worded four-page letter from the department now confirms Mr Nelson's view.

Councillors are accused of "sporadic and haphazard zoning" at many locations.

A significant number of the amendments are "not in the interests of proper planning" and "an effective balance in reconciling local aims and objectives with national and regional policies has not been achieved", the letter states.

The councillors' amendments "seriously compound an already ambitious level of zoning at over 40 locations". Enough land had now been allocated to potentially increase the population of Monaghan, which stood at 55,800 in 2006, by 100,000. Some villages, which the letter states have "no services or facilities", could see their populations increase by up to 2,000.

On a national strategic level the projected population increase for the county was equal to that planned by the Government for the entire Border region, which includes counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Sligo and Monaghan, up to 2020.

In addition to the population increases, the zonings would create problems in relation to flooding and the provision of essential services.

The letter makes particular mention of Ballybay, where lands "clearly prone to serious flooding" had been rezoned.

At many other locations, including Rockcorry, Doohamlet and Connons, there was "sporadic and haphazard rezoning where random fields in unserviced and rural areas well beyond any reasonable development boundary for villages are zoned for residential development".

Unless the plan was scaled back to reflect these concerns, Mr Roche would "compel the planning authority to adopt a development plan that provides for a strategy for the proper planning and development of the county", the letter concludes.

The sole Independent member of the council, Vincent P Martin, who voted against most of the rezonings, said the Minister's intervention had "averted a planning disaster".

the mayor of Monaghan, Pádraig McNally (FF), who voted for several of the rezonings, said he was disappointed that the minister had chosen to intervene before the plan was finished.
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby alonso » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:30 pm

pity about Meath and Wicklow though. Why have the govt waited til now to enforce their own guidelines?
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby Devin » Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:53 am

They've only done this once before, haven't they? - when all the Laois villages were rezoned.

There's another one in Kerry where the savag.., sorry, councillors have just gone & rezoned a load of land around Killarney, which sounds like it needs overturning.
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby PVC King » Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:04 pm

Standards commission to investigate cllrs
Friday, 9 February 2007 13:00
The Standards in Public Office Commission has ordered two councillors from Killarney, Co Kerry, to appear before it next month in connection with alleged breaches of ethics in attempts to re-zone land in the town.

RTÉ News has learned that the councillors have been ordered to appear before the commission at a public hearing on 26 March.

It will be the first time the commission has held a public hearing to investigate the conduct of local authority members.



On the money Dev
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:13 am

They're obviously keen on staring down the Minister on this....
Monaghan council decides to continue rezoning

Olivia Kelly in Monaghan

The Monaghan County Development plan is at risk of collapse following the decision of county councillors to continue to rezone land in defiance of warnings from Minister for the Environment Dick Roche.

A letter written last month on behalf of Mr Roche to county manager Declan Nelson threatened to scrap the development plan because councillors had rezoned enough land to almost triple the population of the county and create serious flooding risks.

Mr Roche warned that unless the plan was changed, the council could be forced to adopt a plan devised for it by the department.

Councillors yesterday continued to allocate extra land for development against the advice of the county manager. However, in what could be seen as a concession to the Minister, the councillors supported the manager's recommendation to reject two proposals from Fine Gael councillor Hugh McElvaney to rezone land near the village of Inniskeen.

County development plans are initially devised by council planners in line with national guidelines in relation to housing, spatial and planning strategies, and are usually amended by councillors before they ratify the plan.

However, councillors' amendments to the Monaghan plan adopting a large number of additional rezonings prompted Mr Roche's letter, which accused them of "sporadic and haphazard zoning".

The councillors' amendments "seriously compound an already ambitious level of zoning at over 40 locations", the letter said. Enough land had already been allocated to potentially increase the population of Monaghan, which stood at 55,800 in 2006, by 100,000. On a national strategic level, the projected population increase for the county was equal to that planned by the Government for the entire Border region, which includes counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Sligo and Monaghan, up to the year 2020, the letter said.

While the Minister's letter was not discussed at yesterday's meeting, Mr McElvaney accused him of undue interference in the planning process.

"Roche, Dick, is against the development of villages the way we want them," he said.

Councillors yesterday voted to again amend the plan to remove the planners' restrictions on the number of houses that could be built in certain villages using a single planning application.

Eighteen of the 20 councillors voted for the amendment that eased the restriction that only 40 houses could be applied for by a developer at any one time.

Independent councillor Vincent P Martin and mayor of Monaghan Pádraig McNally voted against the amendment.

Mr Martin said that allowing more than 40 houses per application was beyond local requirements and would only serve commuters travelling outside the county. "A block of 40 houses is an estate," he said. The council also voted to zone land from "recreation and amenity" and from "local landscape protection area" to development use.

The council has until March 30th to finish amending the development plan. It is likely that the Minister will then review the plan before deciding whether to take further action.
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby PVC King » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:05 pm

You have to wonder what the County manager is doing with this; he can refuse to ratify these rezonings if he considers them to be contrary to the proper planning of the county. I hope that Roche refuses to ratify the plan as is his right if he sees fit as these types of development plan are becoming an all to common occurance lately and only serve to undermine already fragile public confidence in the planning system.
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Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Postby Puckane » Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:58 am

We are under the same sort of "sentence" that has been imposed by local councilors on so many other parts of the country. How can they justify their unexplained favoritism to rezoning lands against the wishes of the planners and local community. We are from the small village of Puckane in North west County Tipperary on the shores of Lough Derg (8km from Nenagh ) and the recent Western Area Local Area Plan subservient to our County development Plan ( with the appropriate Acronym WALAP ) has rezoned our village for up to a 594% increase in settlements. This despite a 14.5% increase from 1996-2002.
We have been fighting this without answer from our local councli who have ignored their own planners and County Manager in hie final report on submissions last year.
If you would like to see more about us our website can be found at http://www.puckane.net/
We recently published an open letter to our seven councillors as it surmises our plight and portrays our frustration with the whole process
Letter available at http://puckane.net/open_letter_to_7_councillors.html
Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated. I do not mean to hog the Monaghan thread and my understanding is with them on this as similar unexplained rezoning decisions have been bulldozed through in far too many parts of the country, unfortunately without consequence to the councillors involved.
The whole process is seriously flawed and needs review.
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