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Developer takes legal action against Minister’s zoning decision


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Developer takes legal action against Minister’s zoning decision Developer takes legal action against Minister’s zoning decision

A developer has taken legal proceedings over a ministerial order that overturned councillors’ decision to rezone land in the new Galway City Development Plan (CDP).

Ballindooley Developments Ltd has sought a judicial review of the ministerial direction by Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell (pictured).

Interim Chief Executive of the City Council, Patricia Philbin, confirmed to elected members that the company was “trying to quash the decision of the minister”.

Earlier this year, Minister O’Donnell wrote to the then Chief Executive Brendan McGrath indicating that he was reversing 25 material alternations made by councillors to the CDP 2023-29. He made the decision on the advice of Office of Planning Regulator (OPR).

Minister O’Donnell directed that 14 land parcels that were subject to land use zoning changes by councillors as part of the Material Alterations to the Draft CDP should be reversed.

He also directed that a further eleven land parcels in the city should become “unzoned”.

The Minister found that the CDP had not been made in a manner consistent with recommendations of the OPR, which required specific changes to the plan to ensure consistency with the national planning laws and guidelines.

This decision was now the subject of a judicial review, Ms Philbin said.

Councillors Declan McDonnell (Ind) and Eddie Hoare (FG) had previously criticised that decision, with the former calling the Minister a “disgrace”.

It had been welcomed by the Save Roscam Peninsula campaign, who had opposed the changes made by councillors.

It’s understood the judicial review related to parcels of land in Ballinfoile but Ms Philbin confirmed to councillors that the outcome of the legal action would have implications for all of the lands that had zonings reversed or that were ‘unzoned’.

At a meeting of the Council this month, Cllr McDonnell tabled a Notice of Motion, which called for a special meeting in September or October to discuss the issue of ‘no zoned lands’, and how to deal with them.

Ms Philbin advised that in light of the judicial review, the Council could not comment on the issue. The motion was not voted on, but was left on the agenda pending the outcome of the judicial review.

Ballindooley Developments Ltd – which is part of McHugh Property Holdings – had made submissions to the CDP to rezone lands from Agriculture to Commercial and Industrial; and from Agriculture and High Amenity to Residential.

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