Harry Crosbie wins challenge over €70,000 vacant site levy

Levy had been applied to warehouse at rear of Vicar Street venue

Harry Crosbie had been notified in July 2017 that the warehouse was being included on the council’s vacant site register. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Harry Crosbie had been notified in July 2017 that the warehouse was being included on the council’s vacant site register. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Well-known businessman, Harry Crosbie, has successfully challenged a demand to pay a vacant site levy of €70,000 in relation to a warehouse he owns at the rear of his Vicar Street music venue in Dublin.

An Bord Pleanála has directed Dublin City Council to cancel its requirement for Mr Crosbie to pay the levy on the property as well as to cancel the warehouse’s entry on its register of vacant sites.

It follows Mr Crosbie’s appeal against the decision of Dublin City Council to issue him with a demand for €70,000 as a vacant site levy for 2019 in relation to his land at Vicar Street in February 2020.

The warehouse is earmarked for demolition as part of plans to construct a hotel on the site.

The businessman had been notified in July 2017 that the warehouse was being included on the council’s vacant site register but had not appealed the notice.

The value of the property was estimated as €1 million in May 2018.

An Bord Pleanála said it was not satisfied that the site was a vacant site under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 on January 1st, 2019, and also at the time the demand for payment was issued 14 months later.

In reaching its decision, the board said it considered that the site was used during 2019 and subsequently for the purpose of supporting a music venue.

The board noted the warehouse was “in a generally fair condition of repair”, although covered with graffiti.

Daily use

In his appeal, Mr Crosbie said the warehouse was part of the Vicar Street music venue and was in use on a daily basis for truck loading and gear storage.

He said such information had been conveyed to the council several times without a response, while the warehouse remained on the register of vacant sites.

An inspector with the appeals board said it was clear that the council did not accept Mr Crosbie’s contention that the site was in constant use.

Council officials said they had tried to arrange site visits without success but had not seen any evidence of the warehouse being in use.

The inspector noted the council had decided to place the site on its vacant site register due to its own roadside observations as well as the lack of documentary evidence to the contrary from Mr Crosbie.

However, the inspector said Mr Crosbie had provided “a rational explanation” for how it was used during concerts and other performances.

It is unclear if Mr Crosbie challenged a separate demand to pay a vacant site levy of €30,000 in relation to the same warehouse for 2018 when the levy rate was 3 per cent before it increased to the current rate of 7 per cent.