Significant changes to the Law no. 350/2001 regarding land development and urbanism (the “Urbanism Law”) came into effect on 13 July 2013. The changes are enacted under Law no. 190/2013 for the approval of Government’s Emergency Ordinance no. 7/2011 (“GEO no. 7/2011”) for amending and supplementing Law no. 350/2001 regarding land development and urbanism (the “Law no. 190/2013”) published with the Official Gazette no. 408 of 10 July 2013.
2. Main legislative amendments
We have presented herein a short description of the most important changes brought by Law no. 190/2013, with special consideration to the proceedings for initiating and approving zoning urban plans (“PUZ”).
- New elements introduced for the urbanism certificates
According to the newly enactments under Law no. 190/2013, the urbanism certificate will indicate the regime of updating/amending existing urbanism documentations and of their corresponding local regulations. Therefore, in case the technical parameters of a new investment project do not comply with the urbanism documentation in force, under the urbanism certificate, the applicant shall be informed in respect to:
- the impossibility of amending the urbanism documentation in force; or
- the necessity of obtaining an opportunity endorsement in accordance with the relevant legal norms; or
- the possibility of preparing a new urbanism documentation in order to amend the urbanism documentation in force, without prior obtaining an opportunity
- The exclusive initiative of the public administration authorities for certain types of land development and urbanism documentations
The initiative for drafting land development and urbanism documentations shall pertain exclusively to the public administration authorities for the following types of documentations:
- land development documentations;
- general urban plans (“PUGs”);
- zoning urban plans (PUZ) for the central areas;
- PUZ for the entire protected construction areas and protection area of monuments; and
- PUZ or detailed urban plans (“PUD”), in case the envisaged projects to be developed are of public
In any other cases, the initiative for drafting urbanism documentations may pertain to public administration authorities or to any other interested natural and legal persons.
In case the initiative for drafting land development and urbanism documentations pertains to the public administration authorities, the costs for preparing the respective documentations will be financed from the state or local budgets, except for the PUZs and PUDs amending parts of the protected construction areas, the costs of which may be borne also by any other interested natural and legal persons.
- Removal of the interdiction to draft land development and urbanism documentation at the initiative of legal entities or individuals, except for the cases expressly provided therein
In accordance with the amendments brought to the Urbanism Law under GEO no. 7/2011, which entered into force as of 11 February 2011, the initiative for drafting of a PUZ became the exclusive attribute of the public administration authorities. As an exception, legal entities or individuals were allowed to initiate PUZs exclusively for: (i) industrial parks; (ii) technological parks; (iii) supermarkets; (iv) hypermarkets; (v) commercial parks; (vi) cultural parks; (vii) production zones; (viii) the development of new residential assemblies; (ix) transportation infrastructure; or
(x) the expansion of the intra muros area of the locality with at least 10,000 sq. m. for habitat functions or at least 5,000 sq. m. for service or production functions. In these cases, the preparation of the PUZ was made through the investor’s due care and on the investor’s expense.
As of the entering into force of Law no. 190/2013, the provision above was removed and replaced with a more general wording, allowing legal entities and individuals to initiate PUZs and PUDs, except for the cases in which drafting these urbanism documentations is the exclusive attribute of the public administration authorities, as provided under Section 2.2 above.
Pursuant to Law no. 190/2013, in case under the urbanism certificate an amendment of the urbanism documentation in force is requested or in case such would be requested by the specific conditions of the area or the nature of the project to be developed, the relevant local public authority may approve the investment project subject to the planning and approval of a PUZ, through the investor’s due care and on the investor’s expense, based on a preliminary opportunity endorsement issued by the specialised structure lead by the chief architect and approved by the relevant competent legal entities.
- Limitations of the CUT to be amended under a PUZ
According to the Urbanism Law, whenever the technical parameters of a new investment project do not comply with the ones approved under the PUG (therefore certain derogations need to be approved) or in the event that the existing urbanism documentation does not contain enough information to integrate the project within the urbanism regulations, the competent authority may require the elaboration and approval of a PUZ or a PUD.
The PUZ shall determine the rules regarding the construction regime, the function of the area, the maximum height allowed, the coefficient of land use (“CUT”), the percent of land occupancy (“POT”), the withdrawal of the buildings from the alignment and the distances from the side and rear boundaries of the plot.
The newly enacted provisions of Law no. 190/2013 provide that the amendment by PUZ of parts of the territorial reference unit may be financed by legal entities or individuals and, in this case, the CUT proposed under the regulations of the PUZ cannot exceed the initial CUT as established under the PUG with more than 20%. The limitation does not apply in relation to a PUZ drafted for areas of commercial interest, industrial parks, technological parks, supermarkets, hypermarkets, commercial parks, service areas and any other similar area.
- Amendments of the cases where the drafting of a PUZ becomes mandatory
New cases where drafting of a PUZ becomes compulsory have been introduced, while others were removed, such as those referring to areas destined to hypermarkets and/or commercial parks, production zones, cultural parks, areas where new residential assemblies will be developed or the coast area or the protection area of the sea coast.
Consequently, under the newly enactments of Law no. 190/2013 the drafting of a PUZ is mandatory for the following areas/activities:
- localities’ central areas;
- protected construction areas and protected area of monuments;
- entertainment and tourism areas (in Romanian: “zone de agrement si turism”);
- industrial, technological zones or parks and service areas;
- in case of land dismemberments (in Romanian: “parcelari”), if the plot of land shall be de-merged in more than three plots;
- transportation infrastructure;
- areas subject to restructuring and urban regeneration; and
- any other areas established by the local public entities of the localities, according to
The territorial delimitation of the zones for which a PUZ is mandatory is to be established by means of the PUG. However, by way of exception, the PUZ shall not be mandatory, if the PUG regulates the conditions for authorising the investments within the respective area, except for the protected construction areas.
- Increase of the period for approving the land development and urbanism planning documentations
The relevant local or county council is required to issue a decision approving or rejecting the land development or urbanism documentation within a maximum of 45 days (instead of 30 days under the former regulation) after the closing of the public debate, the submission of the explanatory memorandum prepared by the mayor / county council president and speciality report prepared by the chief architect.
- Increase of the period for which a PUG may be extended
A PUG may be extended only once for a period of maximum 5 years (instead of 3 years under the former regulation).
The provisions imposing the obligation incumbent upon the chief-architect to inform the relevant public authorities in respect to the necessity of updating the PUG have been repealed under Law no. 190/2013.
3. Other relevant amendments
- Clarifying the regime of PUD
The amendments brought by Law no. 190/2013 clearly stipulate that the PUD may be drafted only with the purpose of a detailed regulation of the provisions included in a PUG or PUZ. A PUD may regulate the withdrawals from the side and rear boundaries of the plot, the car and pedestrian accesses, the architectural-volumetric compliance, the manner to occupy the ground, the design of the public areas.
Furthermore, Law no. 190/2013 expressly provides that the PUD may regulate the POT.
- The obligation to obtain endorsements from the Environment and Climatic Changes Ministry for certain categories of land development or urbanism documentations
Law no. 190/2013 introduces the obligation to obtain the endorsement from the Environment and Climatic Changes Ministry prior to their approval for the following land development or urbanism documentations: (a) zonal regional land development plans; (b) PUZ referring to touristic areas of national interest, the coast area respectively, mountain areas, as well as any other land categories as established under relevant normative acts in order to ensure sustainable development and preserving local identity; and (c) PUZ partly referring to touristic areas of national interest, the coast area respectively, mountain areas, as well as any other land categories as established under relevant normative acts in order to ensure sustainable development and preserving local identity.
- The competences of the Romanian Urban Registry (“RUR”) are expressly provided under Law no. 190/2013
The main competences of RUR as established under Law no. 190/2013 are as follows:
- approving the regulation regarding acquiring the signature right for land development and urbanism documentations;
- approving the regulation for the functioning of RUR;
- designating the specialists within the commissions of public tenders for awarding contests, studies and land development and urbanism documentations
- Harmonising the regulations related to the public information and consultation prior to the drafting and review of the land development and urbanism plans
According to Law no. 190/2013, within 6 months as of its entering into force, the regulations related to the public information and consultation prior to the drafting and review of the land development and urbanism plans will be harmonised by joint order issued by the Regional Development and Public Administration Ministry and Environment and Climatic Changes Ministry.
- Approval of methodological norms to the Law no. 190/2013
The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration should prepare the methodological norms for the application of Law no. 190/2013 and for drafting and updating the urbanism documentations within 90 days as of the entering into force of the law.
4. Status of documentations drafted under the previous legal provisions
As a transitory provision, the Law no. 190/2013 provides that the endorsement and approval of urbanism documentations drafted prior to 1 February 2012 but which were not approved as at 13 July 2013, will be subject to the legal provisions of the Urbanism Law as it was further amended by Law no. 190/2013, but taking into consideration also the documentation prepared and endorsements already obtained.
Updating the expired endorsements shall be performed by the relevant authorities within 15 days as of submitting the relevant request in respect thereof. The updated endorsement is considered to be tacitly approved upon expiry of a 15 days term as from the submission of the request.