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Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: In the case of a request for deferral of the MEPA Board/EPC sitting by Perit – if based on a valid reason (e.g. abroad or sick) – will the case be placed on the agenda again within 30 days and if so, will this be considered as a first sitting?  Is a Perit allowed only one chance of deferral based on a valid reason?

Question 2: Second request for deferral of the MEPA Board/EPC sitting by Perit – is this acceptable?  Should MEPA Board/EPC proceed with voting even though Perit is not present?

Question 3: In case of deferral, where MEPA Board/EPC requests Perit to submit drawings/information, is Perit obliged to submit within the set deadline?  What happens if information is submitted later?

Question 4: If the Planning Directorate does not assess information submitted by Perit and does not draft conditions by the time of the second sitting, what happens in case of overturning of a recommendation for refusal to a decision to approve?

Question 5: If consultees do not reply within the stipulated time frame, should the non-reply be construed as a no objection?  Is this covered by law?

Question 6: Is sanctioning considered a material change?  Can MEPA Board/EPC grant a deferral to give time to Perit to include sanctioning in the proposal and submit colour coded drawings accordingly?

Question 7: Is a change in extent of agricultural land registered in the name of the applicant considered a material change?

Question 8: Can Perit consult the Planning Directorate after MEPA Board/EPC defers hearing for submission of fresh plans/documents?

Question 9: If after an intention of overturning a recommendation for refusal to a decision to approve by the MEPA Board/EPC, a directorate encounters some information, which reinforces further the reasons for refusal.  Should the directorate still proceed with the drafting of conditions even if such information may determine the refusal of the case on other grounds?

Question 10: In case of intention to overturn a recommendation to grant to a decision to refuse, should the Planning Directorate prepare formal reasons for refusal on the basis indicated by the MEPA Board/EPC?

Question 11: In case of applications already placed on the agenda for a MEPA Board/EPC sitting, is the Perit allowed to submit fresh plans, within 21 days from notification of DPAR, besides letters of clarification?

Question 12: Are other interested parties, such as objectors and consultees, allowed to submit drawings with their comments on the DPAR?

Question 13: Will the Perit, applicant and objectors be informed of the deferral date when an application is deferred without requesting fresh plans?

Question 14: When can an application be suspended, as per Regulation 9(3)(d) of LN 514 of 2010?

Question 15: If the Perit is aware that the fresh plans, as requested in the MEPA Board/EPC sitting, are not Sanitary compliant, can Perit re-submit fresh plans to address this?

Question 16: When can a request for reconsideration be submitted?

Question 17: Structures ODZ which appear in 1967 aerial photos are considered to be legal.  Are structures within development zone, which appear in 1967 aerial photos, also considered legal?  Is this covered by legal notice, circular or other guidance document?

Question 18: What is the definition of "an area protected under the provisions of this Act or any Regulation" required for the Sixth and Seventh Schedules of the Act?

Question 19: What should be considered as "outside areas designated for development” in relation to the Sixth and Seventh Schedules of the Act?

Question 20: Does Article 70 of the Environment and Development Planning Act apply to all applications being processed?

Question 1: In the case of a request for deferral of the MEPA Board/EPC sitting by Perit – if based on a valid reason (e.g. abroad or sick) – will the case be placed on the agenda again within 30 days and if so, will this be considered as a first sitting?  Is a Perit allowed only one chance of deferral based on a valid reason?

This request should be availed of only once, and ideally the request should be made at an early stage.  If the first sitting is held and the case is deferred by the Board/Commission, the Perit may request a deferral of the second sitting for the same reason explained above.
 
Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 2: Second request for deferral of the MEPA Board/EPC sitting by Perit – is this acceptable?  Should MEPA Board/EPC proceed with voting even though Perit is not present?

As stated in FAQ 1, the request for a deferral should be a one time event, and if there is a valid reason, then the request for a deferral should not be construed as a first sitting.  A second deferral request should not be entertained and voting should proceed.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 3: In case of deferral, where MEPA Board/EPC requests Perit to submit drawings/information, is Perit obliged to submit within the set deadline?  What happens if information is submitted later?

The 5/10 day principle is not in the regulations, but is a measure that the Board/Commission is taking in order to be in a position to meet the deferral deadline.  This does not mean that if submissions arrive late and one can still assess them, they are simply refused.  Periti are, however, urged to abide by the said time limits, as it is impractical to expect proper assessment of submission if these are submitted late.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 4: If the Planning Directorate does not assess information submitted by Perit and does not draft conditions by the time of the second sitting, what happens in case of overturning of a recommendation for refusal to a decision to approve?

If the MEPA Board/EPC is in favour of the proposal, then it should approve and postpone for drafting of conditions later on in the sitting.  It can also approve the application and in the decision state that permission will be issued subject to standard conditions and “the following specific conditions…”.  Furthermore, the MEPA Board/EPC may avail itself of the proviso to Paragraph 11 of the First Schedule of the Act and authorize the Chairperson or any other member to endorse plan/s document/s at a later stage, after the decision is taken.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 5: If consultees do not reply within the stipulated time frame, should the non-reply be construed as a no objection?  Is this covered by law?

Yes, this is catered for in Regulation 8(3) of LN 514 of 2010.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 6: Is sanctioning considered a material change?  Can MEPA Board/EPC grant a deferral to give time to Perit to include sanctioning in the proposal and submit colour coded drawings accordingly?

Sanctioning per se does not constitute a material change.  Material change is defined in Regulation 2 of LN 514 of 2010.  However note that such a change may lead to the application of Schedule 6 of the Act.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 7: Is a change in extent of agricultural land registered in the name of the applicant considered a material change?

It would only constitute a material change if it is changing the site configuration (shown in red on site plan).

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 8: Can Perit consult the Planning Directorate after MEPA Board/EPC defers hearing for submission of fresh plans/documents?

Yes. Perit may also consult other directorates.  However submission deadlines must be met.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 9: If after an intention of overturning a recommendation for refusal to a decision to approve by the MEPA Board/EPC, a directorate encounters some information, which reinforces further the reasons for refusal.  Should the directorate still proceed with the drafting of conditions even if such information may determine the refusal of the case on other grounds?

At that stage such directorate is there to assist the Board/Commission.  However, such a directorate is duty bound, in exceptional circumstances, to inform the MEPA Board/EPC of some matters that the members should know in case of overturning, such as the need of a study which the applicant would have refused to carry out and without which no approval can be entertained (ex. An Apropriate Assessment or an Environmental Impact Assessment).

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 10: In case of intention to overturn a recommendation to grant to a decision to refuse, should the Planning Directorate prepare formal reasons for refusal on the basis indicated by the MEPA Board/EPC?

In such cases the Board/Commission has to take a decision to refuse and not indicate an intention to refuse.  The Board/Commission, and not the Planning Directorate, has to motivate its decision.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 11: In case of applications already placed on the agenda for a MEPA Board/EPC sitting, is the Perit allowed to submit fresh plans, within 21 days from notification of DPAR, besides letters of clarification?

Drawings cannot be submitted with comments on the Development Permission Application Report (DPAR).  This is according to the requirements of sub-regulation 5(1) of LN 514 of 2010.  Only written comments can be submitted after the DPAR is sent to perit/applicant.  However, according to sub-regulation 5(2), the EPC is authorized to request the submission of revised drawings or documents after the finalization of the DPAR.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 12: Are other interested parties, such as objectors and consultees, allowed to submit drawings with their comments on the DPAR?

According to sub-regulation 8(5), objectors are “allowed to make written submissions” (not submission of drawings or documents)  up to 10 days prior to the first sitting. However, this would not preclude the Board/Commission to request further information (to be submitted during the deferral period) from consultees as envisaged in Paragraph 11 of the First Schedule of the Act.  In addition, sub-regulations 8(7) and 8(8) authorize the Board/Commission to impose deadlines which are required to be met.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 13: Will the Perit, applicant and objectors be informed of the deferral date when an application is deferred without requesting fresh plans?

When further information is not requested, no letter notifying the deferral date will be sent out to the applicant or third parties, and all parties have to follow developments during the sitting or through the Authority’s website.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 14: When can an application be suspended, as per Regulation 9(3)(d) of LN 514 of 2010?

When an applicant decides to contest the decision of a consultee, under the provisions of a law regulating such a consultee (such as SEO and KNPD) before specialized tribunals established for this purpose.  The applicant/perit may request this suspension even during the sitting, and in such instances, the MEPA Board/EPC should request the applicant/perit to submit a copy of the request to the said Tribunal within a period of time established by the Board/Commission, failing which the suspension shall be lifted.  These suspended applications will be duly logged as such and will be reactivated in accordance with Regulation 9(3)(d) of LN 514 of 2010.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 15: If the Perit is aware that the fresh plans, as requested in the MEPA Board/EPC sitting, are not Sanitary compliant, can Perit re-submit fresh plans to address this?

No.  These may only be submitted once a decision is taken, if the Board/Commission so determines, in accordance with the proviso to Paragraph 11 of the First Schedule of the Act.

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 16: When can a request for reconsideration be submitted?

A request for reconsideration of a condition may be submitted.  An applicant may also request a reconsideration from the communication that s/he receives requesting the submission of a Bank Guarantee or payment prior to the issue of the permission.  Registered objectors will be notified with the request for reconsideration through conventional post or e.address. 

Publication Date:  02/03/2011

Question 17: Structures ODZ which appear in 1967 aerial photos are considered to be legal.  Are structures within development zone, which appear in 1967 aerial photos, also considered legal?  Is this covered by legal notice, circular or other guidance document?

Pre 1967 structures are always considered as legal, irrespective of where they are located.  Such structures should show on the 1967 aerial photos (or, in the case of Gozo, on the 1957 aerial photos of 1968 survey sheets).

Publication Date: 17/03/11


Question 18: What is the definition of "an area protected under the provisions of this Act or any Regulation" required for the Sixth and Seventh Schedules of the Act?

"An area protected under the provisions of this Act or any Regulation" means any area which has been specifically designated a protection status in terms of a Legal Notice or a Government Notice, even if this has been issued under the Development Planning Act or the Environment Protection Act.
 
Paragraph 2 of the Seventh Schedule, "where the protection status of the site is still being proposed" applies to a proposed protection status which is indicated on the Mapserver, in a Local Plan, or any other plan.

Publication Date: 17/03/11

Repealed on 26/03/2012 - please see "Planning - Questions on the Sixth Schedule
Updated on 09/01/2013


Question 19: What should be considered as "outside areas designated for development” in relation to the Sixth and Seventh Schedules of the Act?

The areas outside the development zone indicated in a Local Plan.


Publication Date: 17/03/11

Repealed on 26/03/2012 - please see "Planning - Questions on the Sixth Schedule
Updated on 09/01/2013


Question 20: Does Article 70 of the Environment and Development Planning Act apply to all applications being processed?

No.  Article 70 and the Sixth Schedule of the Environment and Development Planning Act apply only to applications submitted after 1st January 2011.


Publication Date: 17/03/11

Repealed on 26/03/2012 - please see "Planning - Questions on the Sixth Schedule
Updated on 09/01/2013