Dezoning dispute splits Kerry council

 

PROPOSALS TO “dezone” land which had been excessively zoned for development was the subject of a heated meeting of Kerry County Council yesterday.

Enough land had been zoned for development to cater for the building needs of six times the current population of the county, a planning meeting of Kerry County Council yesterday heard.

Proposals by the county manager and senior planners to “dezone” hundreds of acres in mid-Kerry to rural general met stout resistance, splitting the council.

A number of developers and landowners were in the public gallery, some of whom had invested millions of euros in speculative buying of land, the meeting heard.

Fianna Fáil councillor Paul O’Donoghue, a solicitor, urged the council to leave the zonings intact to “safeguard the people of the county”. He said regional planning guidelines were still only in draft form and there was no legal requirement on Kerry County Council to dezone.

Dezoning would bankrupt people who had taken out loans for business expansion and for educating their children on “the valid expectation” that had been created by zoning the lands in the first place, he said.

Danny Healy-Rae said the more land zoned for development, the better. It created competition and brought house prices down.

The council split on the issue along party lines, with the majority Fine Gael and Labour alliance proposing that the manager’s recommendations be followed.

The matter has been adjourned.