Territorial Planning Amendments

Changes to the Territory Planning Law

Albanian Law No. 10119, “On Territory Planning” has been amended six times since it was approved in 2009. Initially it was modified to postpone the date of entry into force and later to reflect stakeholders` interests arising over time. Changes have been introduced in the bylaws on territorial planning as well, in order to ensure agreement with the law. The most significant changes (the latest amendment) were introduced with Law No. 110/2013, approved by Parliament on April 1, 2013, and then with the respective changes of Regulation No. 312 for the Decision of Council of Ministers (DCM) No. 481 and regulation No. 314 for the DCM No. 502). Planning experts have expressed the following concerns related to this amendment:

  1. It was not prepared through an open and transparent process. Due to the nature of spatial planning as a primarily local responsibility (shared between central and local government based on the territorial governing competencies), mayors and other representatives of local authorities should have been included in the decision-making process.
  2. The amendment introduces more than 50 articles, only 36 of which are new. The document lacks consistency, which can lead to confusion, as different words and definitions are used for the same concepts. The rationale of the changes and the new articles also remains unclear.
  3. By trying to address certain needs, the revisions were done in a fragmented way. This approach contributes to open interpretations and it creates loopholes in other parts of the law that were not amended.
  4. The overall goals of the law have not been improved with the amendment. Best practices, such as area-based development instead of parcel-based development, have been abolished; the old concept of “residential area planning” instead of “mixed area planning and development” has been reintroduced.

The most critical issue remains the tendency of continuing to amend the law, while not applying it. This issue has brought and may bring further delays in implementation, which can trigger more pronounced informal development or a halt to development.

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