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Post-grad article: public hearings on proposed developments (some help, plz?)

Started by IgorEliezer, July 19, 2022, 06:52:34 PM

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Hi everybody,

I hope everyone is well, specially @Isaac Eiland-Hall. :)

I'm doing postgrad in city management and municipal politics. My colleagues and I are going to summit an article to the city council's magazine as completion course work. The subject is public hearings on proposed residential developments.

Say, a developer wants to convert a rural or empty piece of land into a new residential neighborhood, housing blocks or the so called suburbs. Depending on the city, one of the steps for its approval is a public hearing so that the affected people can have some say on the project and the developer take the potential impacts into account and adjust the project... and yes, we know the not in my backyard thing very well. :)

A section of the article will list a few examples of public hearings of sort abroad. So I would ask you if your city does public hearings on new urban developments or if you know a city that does it. Links pointing to news and pages covering the subject are much appreciated.




Sooo... Austria...

Not sure if it's the same thing, but for each new building, part of the approval by law is that all neighbors get invited, are shown the plans, and have to agree to the project. If anyone vetoes, the process takes much longer even if the plan complies to all relevant laws. Though it might be that there is indeed an issue and the plans have to change. This is mostly due to height and distance, but can also be noise, view, smell etc.

The "empty piece of land" that turns into any type of building most likely needs to be rededicated. The three big types are green space, buildings and traffic/other. In order to rededicate land, the municipality has to publically announce their intent as well as contact owners of land they want to rededicate directly, and for a while (a month I think?) everyone can respond with issues they see regarding that rededication. Not quite the same is development plan for building spaces that regulates their height and density in the area, any changes to that also has to be publically announced and can be responded to. However, while all land has to be registered in the dedication plan, the development plan is not required. A valid reason against rededication could be that some issue XYZ needs to be handled in a development plan beforehand.

Those are both not quite "public hearings" in the sense of everyone gathering and being duped into thinking a monorail is great for springfield, but the public is heard. For some larger projects, there are events that aim to explain everything and calm down concerns. However, those are not part of the legal approval process and not required, it's more like the (preemptive) counter to a demonstration, which also has no legal meaning in itself.

As for links... Er... German links I can provide, there are many website that explain these processes for those who want to build their own houses. I don't know if there is any in English though. As for the laws themselves, it's also tricky since they are not the same in all of Austria (but all work essentially the same way), and my summary is spread out in many locations. If this is even what you are looking for, I can try to find some English sources for my claims.


In the UK I'm fairly sure a public consultation period is mandatory for large projects. 

Even small projects like adding a loft conversion or building a substantial out house can be publicly commented on during the planning permission phase. 

I actually live on one of these developments and we were, prior to building starting, going to get a local community centre with a shop, gym and few other bits. COVID has changed that so the developer and going to work with Lidl, a super market, and try to sell the land to them to build a store on if the get planning permission. As a local resident they will consult and indeed have already started sending letters out and asked for comments on this. 

Public consultation is ingrained in to the process.

I'd recommend looking at the American Express Community Stadium as a fantastic example of how much a large scale construction project can be impacted by this.


Perhaps a bit late answer here, but in Norway, there is no longer any legal concept of cities. These things are handled by the municipality. I also think the procedure is the same whether it is urban or rural. There are likely different concerns that need to be looked into, however.

I think there is one public hearing for changing the zoning, and then a sort of localized mini-hearing for each individual construction project. The latter is where neighbors may/will try to stop buildings that block their view or block the sun, or sometimes buildings they just find ugly.

It is however possible to do small extensions to existing buildings, and build small new sheds and garages on lots that already contain a residential building, without applying for a permit from the municipality, which would include the mini-hearing. You have to inform the municipality when done, and you have to stay within laws and existing regulations. And possibly inform neighbors, if only about the noise the construction work will make.