Monday 17 October 2011

Plan to freeze 108 hectares of zoned lands in Killarney

A PLAN goes before the public in Killarney this week to freeze more than 108 hectares of land zoned residential in the current town development plan which was drafted during the boom.

Rezoning of lands by the town council proved highly controversial in the past decade.

Killarney has 133.5 hectares of land zoned for residential development, when it needs just over 25 hectares for realistic population growth of 2,000 people by 2016.

The town has enough land zoned residential to cater for almost six times its realistic population growth, planners have found after carrying out an assessment to bring local policy into line with national guidelines.

The planners have selected the 25.4 hectares which they say should be allowed to be developed over the next four years in what they designate as “phase one” development, and they are putting on display the 108 hectares they intend to freeze or lock down for the next four years.

The selection is mainly on the basis of whether there is live planning permission on the lands. Most of those lands in the 25 hectares have current permission.

However, the preference is causing unease among town councillors. The lockdown will run until the next development plan at least.

Fianna Fáil councillor Niall O’Callaghan raised concerns some of the lands which the planners say should be allowed to be developed in the next four years were in the control of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama). If Nama were in charge or about to take charge of some of these land parcels, they should be removed from the list, he said. The plan would mean proposals for the locked-down or phase two lands would not be considered until all planning permissions were taken up on the phase one lands.

Senior planner Fiona O’Sullivan said the council was going down the lock-down or “phasing route”, rather than dezoning the excess.

Infrastructure such as water supply and road network was a criterion in selecting phase one lands, she said. Visually sensitive lands were put into the second phase. Ms O’Sullivan conceded there was little interest now in developing even phase one lands.

Labour councillor Seán O’Grady said much of the selection was “unnatural” in that some of the parcels proposed for development were far from the core of the town, while some of the “frozen” lands were in the heart of the town.

Irish Times

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