II. PLANNING CONTENT AND PROCESS ACCORDING TO THE VALID ACT
1. Basic principles of the Act and basic tasks of different plans
Objectives of different plans according to Act and by-laws:
Spatial organisation of Belarus ensures development of sustainable and competitive territories and settlements.
National Plan defines the state policy in the field of settlement network and organisation of territories at country and regional levels in co-ordination with the general political and socio-economic purposes of the state, provides co-ordination for the international, multi-branch and branch programs of territorial development.
A strategy for socio-economic and territorial (general land use and infrastructure) development of oblast or group of raions, co-ordination of state, regional and local activities in spatial and urban development, creation of conditions for development of high-quality living environment for the population of the region.
A strategy for socio-economic and territorial development of settlement or another area, development of optimal planning structure and functional zoning, creation of decisions in principle for environment protection, for the development of public service system, transport and engineering infrastructures, long-term planning of investments on the territories.
Regulation of building investments and building requirements in co-ordination with the general vision of spatial planning and functional development of settlement.
2. Planning obligation, client/producer of plans
The laws and normative acts do not define mandatory plans, neither deadlines of their validity.
Municipal plans address all land use issues and public interests, however in reality these plans impact only municipal property. More often plans realise interests of the state rather than protect the interests of the inhabitants of the given territory.
According to the Building Normative Acts, the Council of Ministers on behalf of the Ministry of Architecture and Construction or regional governments can initiate production of local plans. For example, all master plans for cities of the Grodno oblast are initiated and are financed by Oblast Executive Committee.
The client for the national plan is the Council of Ministers. The general producer of the national plan is the Institute for Regional and Urban Planning of the Ministry of Architecture and Construction. The Ministry of Architecture and Construction finances production of the national plan from the state fund of spatial development. This fund is part of the national budget.
In 1998 the Ministry of Architecture and Construction initiated production of regional plans for all oblasts of the republic. In this case the Ministry has acted as client and financier of the regional plans. Last year the Executive Committee of Grodno oblast decided upon regional plan production for Grodno oblast. Production of Grodno regional plan is therefore financed from two sources – Ministry of Architecture and Construction and the Executive Committee of Grodno oblast. However, according to the Decision Act of the Council of Ministers, oblast government will have to approve the regional plan. The producer of regional plans is the Institute for Regional and Urban Planning.
The Ministry of Architecture and Construction can be the client for Master plan development for a territory that is located in the zone of the special state regulation in compliance with the Decision Act of the Council of Ministers "About Areas of Special State Regulation of Architectural and Planning Activity".
The client for Master plan development can be Oblast Executive Committee or City Executive Committee. There is no legislation determining the roles of regional and urban authorities. The producer of the Master plan can be any design organisation. For this activity it should have special license from the Ministry of Architecture and Construction. In practice Master plans are produced by the Institute for Regional and Urban Planning or regional institutes of civil engineering.
Master plan preparation can be financed from the national, regional or local budget. Similar is the procedure with detailed plan preparation. The law or Building Normative Acts do not restrict private enterprises to finance or to make plans. However, such a practice does not exist in the country.
3. Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) or Strategic Impact Assessment (SIA) in the planning process
Environment Impact Assessment of plans is carried out by State Ecological Supervision at the Ministry of Nature Resources and Environment Protection. The law “About State Ecological Supervision” adjusts the activity of State Ecological Supervision.
According to Law, state ecological supervision addresses
- identification of the level of ecological danger which can arise during realisation of economic or other activity in the present or in future and directly or indirectly to render negative influence on the condition of the environment and health of the population,
- assessment of conformity of planned or designed economic and other activity with the requirements of nature protection legislation,
- identification of sufficiency and validity of measures, provided by the project for environment protection.
The subjects of ecological supervision are:
- strategic programming and design documents,
- programs and plans for development of industry and branches of national economy,
- operating enterprises, military objects, scientific and other institutions,
- ecological condition of regions and settlements.
Planning and EIA are an integrated process. Without positive conclusions of state ecological supervision, planning documentation cannot be approved.
4. Main rules of co-operation and public participation
The Building Normative Act “Procedure of Development and Co-ordination of Spatial and Urban Planning Projects” states that master and detailed plans must be displayed for public discussion prior to approval. The procedure of public discussion is described in another normative document.
There are no normative documents nor other rules for public participation in the planning process in Belarus. Each executive committee independently establishes the order of public participation during the planning process.
5. Approval/concordance of plans
There are two basic procedures for planning documentation to undergo:
- mandatory plan concordance
- state expert supervision of the plan
The organisations for plan concordance are listed by the client in the project Terms of Reference.
The organisation providing concordance for the plan prepares Official Conclusion. The producer of the plan takes into account remarks and proposals made.
6. Supervision of plans/prerequisite for enforcement
According to the Decision Act of the Council of Ministers "Order of State Expert Supervision and Approval of Spatial Planning Projects", all planning projects are subject to state expert supervision. Remarks and proposals by the organisation of concordance and state expert supervision which the producer has not taken into account in the plan, are examined by the executive committee that decides on passing the plan further for approval. Planning projects are submitted for state ecological supervision after completion as well as for concordance with relevant organizations and government bodies before approval.
State ecological supervision is carried out by the Main Department of State Ecological Supervision at the Ministry of Architecture and Construction, and the Department of State Ecological Supervision at Oblast Executive Committees.
State ecological supervision of plans addresses
- concordance of the plan decisions with valid legislation of the Republic of Belarus,
- concordance of the plan decisions with national programs of economic and social development of Belarus, its administrative and territorial units,
- concordance of the plan decisions and procedure of plan development with the requirements of Building Normative Acts,
- concordance of the plan decisions with higher-level planning documents,
- presence of the necessary structure and content of the plan ensuring comprehensive development of territories.
7. Enforcement and validity of plans
According to the Decision Act of the Council of Ministers "Order of State Expert Supervision and Approval of Spatial Planning Projects", the Council of Ministers approves National plan. Councils of Deputies of the regional (oblast) territorial level approve
- regional plans,
- planning documentation for special state-regulated zones.
Councils of Deputies of raion and urban level approve
- master plans of raions, cities, other settlements and local areas,
- detailed plans,
- master plans of territories of Rural Councils.
Uniform master plans developed for administrative and territorial units of the local level are approved by the joint decision of Councils of Deputies of these territories. Plans are implemented by the Executive Committee of the Council of Deputies having approved the plan.
The legislation does not establish the order of repeal of the approved plan.
The plan, not approved in the appropriate order, has no legal status.
Modifications of enforced plans
The decisions on change of enforced plans are made by
- the Council of Ministers for the National plan, plans for special state-regulated zones,
- Oblast Councils of Deputies or under their assignment by the Executive Committees for regional plans and Master plans of raions and cities of oblast subordination,
- Minsk City Council of Deputies or under their assignment by Minsk City Executive Committee for Master and detailed plans for the City of Minsk,
- Councils of Deputies of the local level or under their assignment by Executive Committees for Master and detailed plans.
The basis for change of a plan can be
- non-compliance of the enforced plan with the real tendencies of the territory or settlement development,
- implementation of plans of higher or adjacent levels interfering with the interests of the given territory or settlement,
- the requirement about plan development is contained in the national programs of economic and social development of Belarus and its administrative and territorial units or in plans of higher level,
- the end of the validity period of a plan.
Validity of plans
Validity of plans is not adjusted by the legislation and Building Normative Acts.
Enforced plan can be repealed only by the organisation that approved the plan.
8. Legal impact of different plans
The plans do not have influence on administrative borders.
Based on the experience of previous developments, the National plan can contain change proposals of the territorial device. The Law and Building Normative Acts do not contain such a right.
Plans are the basis for sectoral planning. For example, such practice is observed in the interaction of the Master plan and plans of engineering communications development of urban settlements. Plans for urban engineering infrastructure development (road, public transport, gas, water and energy supply, water drain), plans of green areas development are developed on the basis of Master plan decisions.
Plans do not directly influence property owners.
9. Compensation for damage caused by planning restrictions
Unfortunately, the secondary market of real property and market mechanisms for land transactions are undeveloped in Belarus. So the given topic is not topical in plan preparation of all levels.
The mechanism of compensation begins to work only at the concrete decisions of urban or regional executive committee about removal of buildings or change in the profile of use.
10. Obligation to review enforced plans
Reviewing of enforced plans is not related to the election period and political changes in Belarus.
Architectural and spatial (urban) planning bodies that implement plans and conduct the so-called "tending to the plans" with all the changes occurring in their territory reflected, initiate the updating procedure of plans. However, legislation and Building Normative Acts do not establish official procedures neither the need for review report on the plan.
11. Everybody's building right in rural areas
Everybody’s building right in rural areas does not exist. All building activity is based on building permits.