Small but without limits

Member of the Bar of Dendermonde since 2013. Dutch, English and French. (Click picture for more information)

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Urban planning

Problem statement: I am confronted with a notice of (an application for) an urban development permit from my neighbor, with which I absolutely do not agree. What are the possibilities to object to this and to safeguard my rights?

An application for a planning permit must be made public for a period of 30 days by displaying it. In this way, the municipality can investigate in its assignment whether the permit application complies with good spatial planning and whether there are objections from interested third parties / neighbors against the project.

You must notify the municipality of this objection in time and there is no formal requirement: an e-mail or ordinary letter is sufficient, but for safety's sake it is advisable to send a registered letter.

If the municipality approves the permit application, in spite of your notice of objection or if you were unable to submit a notice of objection in time, you can lodge an administrative appeal against the building permit concerned within the 30-day notice period by registered letter (please note that strict conditions).

The file will then be sent to the hierarchically superior government, the Deputation, which will review the application on its merits and substitute its decision.

If the decision of the Deputation does not bring any solace, there is the option of submitting an annulment appeal to the Council for Licensing Provisions within the statutory period. Suspension can also be requested when there is an urgent need, the means against the decision are very serious and heavy damage could occur that is difficult to repair later (strict conditions).

This administrative court doesn’t act with the competence of the Deputation that took the decision, but it does check whether the government could reasonably have taken its decision in the given case, by checking this against the law and the general principles of good administration. . After all, an administrative government must properly motivate its decisions. If it does not, or if the motivation is not pertinent, it can be objected. If the petitioner wins, the Council will set aside the decision and return the case to the Deputation, which will again have to consider the application for a permit, taking into account the considerations from the annulment judgment.

Two phases can therefore be distinguished: a first administrative phase with the authorities that must decide on the license application and objections and a judicial phase with the administrative court. The first phase will be completed within a relatively short period of time, as a decision must be made within mandatory terms set by the legislator. The second phase usually takes longer.

Even if the objections do not succeed, but you suffer damage as a result of the works, you are still entitled to compensation before the ordinary judge.