Monday 16 July 2007

Attempt to rezone land for housing hits another study stumbling block

MOVES by the elected members of Limerick County Council to rezone large tracts of land near Adare for housing have met another stumbling block.

The councillors have the power to vote through rezoning of land and have an agreement whereby they support rezoning proposals once the councillors in the area concerned propose the move.

The councillors in the Bruff electoral area, which takes in Adare, have backed the rezoning and local landowners are in for a huge financial windfall if what is now agricultural land is rezoned for housing.

Local auctioneer John Giltinane said: “A one-acre site zoned for housing within 10 minutes’ walk of the village could make up to €1 million — twice the going rate inother parts of the county.”

When the councillors tabled the zoning motion last April, officials said it could not go through until an environmental impact study was carried out by the council. That study was recently completed and will shorty be given to the councillors.

However, in a new twist to the saga, officials have now told the councillors that they will have to provide the council with a wider study on the broader implications of therezoning for the village.

This study will have to be paid for by the councillors themselves.

One source said: “The cost would not be a problem asno doubt there are many landowners who would be prepared to contribute towards such a study.”

Planners fear development could impact negatively on Adare’s heritage village status and appearance. A local action group has also been formed to monitor the push for rezoning of land in the area.

The village has a population of 1,300 and planners say this should not rise beyond 3,000 at the very most.

Councillor Richard Butler, who supports the rezoning, said a shortage of sites has driven up the price of houses.

“Young couples from Adare now have to move to Newcastle West, Askeaton and other towns. Most of the players on the local hurling team don’t live in Adare.”

The GAA club has sought planning permission to rezone its five-acre ground for housing to raise money to develop a bigger facility as the present one is too small to cater for the increased membership.

Irish Examiner

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