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New Stipulations of the Spatial Development Act

The Act for Amendment and Supplement to the Spatial Development Act was promulgated in SG, issue 82 dated October 26, 2012.
The amendments and supplements can be summarized in six main directions:
1. Creation of a new system of planning and programme documents under the Spatial Development Act (SDA) and the Regional Development Act (RDA)
The strategic development planning and the strategic regional development planning, being key elements of one and the same process, are regulated by one act – the RDA. In this regard the provisions of the SDA related to the preparation of present documents of strategic development planning are repealed – in Chapter V “Development Schemes” and in Chapter VII, Section II “Preparation, Approval and Modification of Development Schemes”, and the term “development schemes” is deleted everywhere it is used in the Act, as well as in other acts, respectively, where necessary, this term is substituted with the term “spatial development conceptions and schemes and development plans”. In this way at present only master and detailed plans have detailed regulation in the SDA, and the other spatial planning documents are moved to the RDA. 
2. Changes in the procedures on preparation, discussion and approval of master and detailed plans, as well as provision of detailed rules for the relations between the two types of planning documents
The amendment empowers the municipal councils to adopt resolutions for preparation of draft master plans, upon proposal of the municipality mayor accompanied by terms of reference pursuant to Art. 125 of the SDA. In this way the act whereby the master plan preparation procedure commences is altered, while the same is referred to the body which shall in principle approve the future plan.
Draft master plans shall be subject to public discussion prior to their submission to the expert boards on spatial development, for the conduction thereof a protocol shall be prepared. The public discussion represents a part of the procedure for conduction of consultations on the environmental assessment and/or the compatibility assessment, which the contracting entity shall organize and conduct pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act and/or the Biological Diversity Act. The resolution of the municipal council for the master plan approval shall be subject to the regional governor’s supervision according to Art. 127, Para. 6.
The newly created § 123 of the Transitional and Final Provisions of the AASSDA states that in a 6-month term as of the entry into force of the amending act, the mayors of municipalities not having an operating master plan shall be obliged to submit a proposal to the respective municipal council pursuant to Art. 124, Para. 1 for preparation of such. Therefore, after January 1, 2016, the construction process in the out-of-settlement areas of municipalities, for the territory whereof no master plan has entered into force, will discontinue to a great extent. With little exceptions only objects of public interest will be constructed there, which shall become public state or municipal property.
Permission for preparation of a draft detailed plan shall be granted by a resolution of the municipal council upon proposal of the municipality mayor. Permission for preparation of a draft detailed plan of a part of the urbanized territory (except for dispersed settlements of national significance) covering up to one quarter, and in Sofia Municipality and in cities with district division – covering up to three quarters, shall be granted by an order of the municipality mayor upon proposal of the chief architect. The circle of interested parties in the proceedings on detailed plans approval and modifications thereto is extended – the persons according to the cadastral register data are added, as well as those to which concession is granted.
The relations between master and detailed plans are stipulated in Art. 103a. Detailed plans approved until the entry into force of a new master plan or of its modification, remains in force.
3. Changes related to approval of development designs and construction permission
Such, for example, is the amendment to Art. 139, Para. 2, stipulating that the contracting entity shall be obliged, according to the specific character of the object, to assign the preparation of all parts of the development design, on the basis of which assessment for correspondence to the requirements of Art. 169, Para. 1-3 can be made and the construction works can be accomplished. This explicit indication of the obligatory volume of project works is intended to prevent the practice existing hitherto for requesting construction permission upon submission of a conceptual design, which is too abstract and allows numerous variations during the following design stages. 
According to the new rule of Art. 139, Para. 3 all documents – graphic and text ones, on all parts of the development design, shall be signed and stamped by the designer of the respective part and shall be agreed on by signatures of the designers of the other parts, as well as of the contracting entity. Such agreement shall not be necessary for the calculations made by the designer on the respective part.
4. Changes in the status of the parties to the construction process.
4.1. Contracting Entity
The concessionaire shall be considered to be a contracting entity for temporary constructions only, provided for by the specialized detailed plan under Art. 54, Para. 6. As far as all other constructions related to the concession contract execution are concerned, a contracting entity shall be the concession granting authority, while the concessionaire shall represent it at its own risk upon development designs preparation and approval, construction permission and execution and construction works commissioning. The new provision of Art. 161, Para. 4 introduces particular cases of contracting entity’s liability.
4.2. Designer
After the amendment to Art. 162 the conditions and order for performance of author’s supervision during the construction works shall be determined by a contract between the contracting entity and the designer. The author’s supervision on all parts shall be obligatory for all constructions of categories 1-5. Up to the present moment the author’s supervision was obligatory on part “Constructive” only. Designer’s instructions, related to his copyright, for the precise observance of the development design created by him, shall be entered into the order book and shall be obligatory for the other participants in construction works. 
4.3. Constructor
It is explicitly stipulated that the constructor shall prepare all acts during the construction works, as well as shall prepare and keep the executive documentation in case the contracting entity has not contracted that to another participant in the construction works.
4.4. Consultant
The regime of consulting activities performance is altered – from licence to registration one. The alternation performed is necessitated by the implementation of Directive 2006/123/ЕC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12th December 2006 on the services in the internal market, wherein the principles of reducing the permission, licence and registration regimes and facilitation of administrative procedures are laid down.
The requirements for consulting activity registration are precised, as well as consultants’ liability and obligations, and the sanctions are increased. As a result of the amendments the consultant may not only be a “trader within the meaning of the Commercial Act”, but also a person “registered with a commercial or another public register in a Member State, or in another state – party to the EEA Agreement”.
5. Changes in the supervision over the spatial development
The NCSD is transformed into a specific jurisdiction judging the admissibility of the appeal or protest before their consideration in essence, and when it ascertains inadmissibility, the proceedings shall be terminated by an explicit order. The order can be contested by a interlocutory appeal or protest in court proceedings.
The term within the competent NCSD authority shall pass a resolution on the appeal or protest is 15 days by now.
Full division of supervision functions between the NCSD and municipal administrations is introduced, at the level of “construction categories under Art. 137”. All supervision activities related to the spatial development and construction of categories 1-3 shall be performed by the NCSD. The constructions of categories 4-6 shall be supervised by municipalities.
6. Changes in the status of tolerable сonstructions and of those under § 184 of the AASSDA of 2003 (illegal constructions)
The legislator, without altering the conditions for presence of tolerable character of constructions, prolongs the term within which the same shall have been built – until 31st March 2001 (the date of entry into force of the SDA).
The term expired in January 2003, within which an application for legalization of illegal constructions could be submitted, is renewed. Now the application shall be submitted in a 1-year term as of the entry into force of the AASSDA.
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