Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Postby murphaph » Sun May 03, 2009 12:40 am

All the literature I have found states that a planning observation must be accompanied by the €20 fee. Does this include councillors of the local authority in which the aplication is being made?

I ask becaue I have an application in for change of use on a commercial property and a local councillor has made an ojection to it. She didn't even bother typing it up: it's a 2 line scrawl about potential "gangs" hanging around the new business. I feel I know exactly who is behind the complaint to the councillor because this person cannot make an objection in their own name because they have dealings with me. I believe they asked the councillor to object on their behalf and she has done so but she appears not to have paid the €20 fee designed to prevent spurious objections! Is this fair or a subversion of the planning process?

There are residences nearby and none of them have objected. The councillor lives some distance away and this was clearly brought to her attention by "interested parties". I'm annoyed that someone hasn't got the balls to put the objection in with their 20 quid and instead has gone moaning to a councillor who can seemingly object to everything for a few votes and she doesn't have to pay the fee!

We've followed the planing procedure to the letter. Our architect has ensured everything's been done properly and then a couple of days before closing date for submissions we get this. I have NO PROBLEM with people directly affected putting in their objections but should someone be able to hide their identity behind a councillor like this?

I pray the planners will take one look at this scrawled note and realise it's political points scoring by this councillor who is happy for this premises to go empty rather than employ half a dozen people. Sorry for the rant like tone of this. Really, if we were building a monstrosity I think we'd have more than this single objection.
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Re: Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Postby johnglas » Sun May 03, 2009 12:18 pm

I think that's just life; you don't say what your development is - even though surrounding owners may not object (inertia?), anyone with a legitimate PLANNING objection can do so. Most objections on traffic grounds, 'gangs' etc. are spurious, but the planning authority needs to note them anyway, and a councillor will, in any system, always have to be heard.
It may seem like a low blow to you, but developers are not above bribery, intimidation, even physical violence towards anyone exercising their democratic right to object. An anonymous objector may seem like hard cheese, but that's partly because of the 'public' nature of the system. My advice to you is to keep in close touch with the relevant planner and, if the objections are in any way valid, deal with them.
One of the main problems with the planning system, both here and where you are, is that it's become ossified and really too hidebound by legalities and out-of-date procedures; third-party appeals and objections are frustrating. In this technological age, there is nothing to beat face-to-face discussion, assuming that you can tear everyone away from their computers for long enough. Perhaps some Irish planners would care to give us a critique of your system.
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Re: Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Postby murphaph » Sun May 03, 2009 9:35 pm

Thanks for the reply John.

I decided to google this particular councillor and her objections and support are many and varied (however always a 2 line hand written scrawl). I found many other councillors also make such representations without paying the fee. Interestingly the local TDs (same as your MPs) for the area seem to submit the €20 with their observations. Perhaps the law allows local coincillors to make observations FOC.

The local councillors however do NOT have the right to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanala unless they have paid the fee.

The best thing I discovered was that the planners disagreed with this particular councillor in 16 out of 20 cases! Perhaps she'll help my case (I imagine planners get p!ssed off with these politicians trying to interfere in the planning process).
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Re: Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Postby damproof » Tue May 05, 2009 11:08 pm

as far as i am aware councillors have the right to make representations on a file as in "i support this application" or otherwise but do not have any further entitlement to make any observations without paying a €20 fee - they don't have the right to appeal an application after making a representation. The planner will most likely give little regard to the content of a representation and make his or her recommendation based on the planning issues.

Planners do get frustrated with the lobbying of local representatives and the power that they can wield but the planner involved is unlikely to make a recommendation out of spite for the councillor
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Re: Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Postby murphaph » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:46 pm

Hi all, quick follow up to this debacle.

Planning was eventually refused after additional information was sought and was not satisfactorily dealt with it seems. The "architect" was unreachable and has been ever since.

Since then, we (the potential tenant and ourselves as landlords) have found an RIAI architect who has a track record of getting PP for this type of development (fast food from retail change of use) on the case and a new application has been submitted. If we get it we get it, if not, we'll chalk it down to experience and move on.

We encountered the same objections from 2 councillors this time. However, we decide to tackle them head on and met with the councillors. It turns out they both received telephone calls from a business that believe it will be threatened by the development. One councillor has since withdrawn his objection, rather embarrased that he was hoodwinked by the complainant, the other has vowed to do the same by this afternoon. What do you guys think the planners will make of all this nonsense?
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Re: Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Postby forrestreid » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:35 pm

"What do you guys think the planners will make of all this nonsense? "

The Planner will not really care either way. The Planners are used to this type of "clientelist" nonsense from the Councillors and take it is their stride. I think there is a tacit understanding between Councillors and Planner that the "two line objection without any fee" is simply window dressing for constituents and both sides know it will be, in practice, ignored.

The only people who think it is of significance are the instigator of the letter and the more neurotic type of applicant.
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Re: Does everyone have to pay €20 to make an objection?

Postby murphaph » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:11 pm

Cheers, was hoping that would be the case. If it's turned down again we'll stick in an appeal to ABP and see how it goes. It seems to be very hit and miss in the county as to whether you'll get it or not, and ABP have given a couple where the council has refused so there's always hope until they say "no deal".

I have found one example in the same county, granted last year, which is almost identical to us (both zoned residential, both with established estate just behind and to the side, both having had a previous late night use, both having no objections from the residences adjacent) EXCEPT his neighbours' property is even closer to him than ours are to us, and he has residential property directly arcoss the road from him, whereas we have a public park across from us, no buildings whatsoever. His was also 5 mins walk from the next takeaway of the same type, ours is 20 mins walk to the next one.

Can one cite a (very) similar example from the same county when going to ABP as a justification for a grant of permission? I know each site has to be assessed on it's own merits but the two sites are REALLY similar with the same things taken into account by the manager when he made his order the last time.

Cheers for the input everyone.
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