Moves to block any increase in the number of homes in the south Dublin suburbs of Dalkey and Killiney are set to be examined by planning regulators after councillors breached policy recommendations in their new development plan.
The new planning measures in two of the most prosperous areas of Dublin were included in the 2022-2028 Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown development plan when councillors approved it last week. The mammoth plan, under discussion for 18 months, sets the framework for housing and other developments in the region for the rest of the decade.
The restrictions and new rules on apartment size mix in build-to-rent schemes were settled in defiance of statutory policy recommendations from the Office of the Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen, who is the State supervisor for overseeing local compliance with national planning rules.
Now the council is required to notify the planning breaches to the regulator, setting moves in train that could lead to Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien being asked to issue a policy direction compelling the authority to change the development plan. Mr O’Brien’s spokeswoman said he cannot comment this stage of the process.
The development plan says “significant parts” of Dalkey and Killiney are characterised by low density development. “Some of these areas have been identified as areas where no increase in the number of residential buildings will normally be permitted (a ‘0/0’ zone).”
Such measures were included despite the regulator telling the local authority to remove the “0/0 objective” on the basis that it was an “unnecessary restriction on sustainable development”.
The plan also included a requirement for three-bedroom apartments in 40 per cent of the units in build-to-rent schemes in “new residential communities”. Responding to questions from The Irish Times, the council acknowledged that such measures were “at variance” with the regulator’s recommendation.
“The planning authority can confirm that they will be issuing a notice,” the county council said, referring to laws requiring its chief executive to tell the regulator of the “reasons for the decision” not to comply with recommendations.
The regulator’s office said nothing specific about the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown plan, although it did set out the procedure.
“In cases where the plan is not consistent with any of our statutory recommendations, a notice letter from the local authority chief executive must inform us accordingly and outline the reason/s for this decision.”
The regulator’s office then has four weeks from the date the plan was adopted to decide whether to recommend to the Minister that powers of direction be used to compel the local authority to address the matter.
“The Minister then decides whether or not to issue a draft direction to the local authority compelling them to take action.”
The regulator’s office said it works proactively with local authorities “to ensure the best outcomes for communities which are consistent with regional and national planning policies”.