Re: Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Home Forums Ireland zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan Re: Re: zoning ridiculousness in Monaghan

Paul Clerkin

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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