Wednesday 29 April 2009

Landowners seek rezoning reversal

TWO LANDOWNERS have asked the High Court to quash the Limerick county manager’s rejection of a decision by councillors to rezone for residential and other development some 130 acres of farmland near Adare village.

PJ Farrell, a farmer who lives at and owns 90 acres at Ardshanbally and Gortaganniff on the outskirts of Adare, and Barbara Forde, Oulart, Gorey, Wexford, who owns 40 acres in the same area, have brought the proceedings against Limerick County Council. They claim county manager Ned Gleeson acted outside his powers in refusing to accept the rezoning decision as valid.

The council claims the rezoning would create a detached suburb from Adare in breach of its policy to protect the historic architectural integrity of the town.

In voting for the rezoning on September 29th, councillors argued it was needed to bring in employment and facilities. The court heard Mr Gleeson had obtained legal advice the rezoning was not effective under the 2000 Planning and Development Act.

Both landowners claim the local area plan (LAP) for Adare, which does not contain the rezonings, should be set aside. Alternatively, they are seeking an injunction restraining an LAP pending the outcome of proceedings.

In submissions made to the LAP process last July, a planning consultant for Mr Farrell argued his lands would be severed from the remainder of his farm by a proposed bypass of the town and the zoning should be for mixed uses including residential. Ms Forde’s consultant sought zoning for low-density serviced residential sites.

The county manager recommended the lands remain zoned agricultural on grounds rezoning would be contrary to the Limerick County Development Plan.

Eamon Galligan SC, for the landowners, told Mr Justice Brian McGovern that the issues included whether the county manager was entitled to take the view the rezoning resolution was invalid.

The council claims councillors failed to identify the variations they wanted to make in a sufficiently precise manner to constitute an effective LAP modification. It claims councillors failed to state any reasons which might justify the rezoning in the context of the advice of planning experts.

The hearing continues.

Irish Times

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