Announced as a pioneering bill of law when it was submitted to the Luxembourg Parliament on 16 July 2014, the so-called Omnibus law ("Omnibus Law") was finally adopted by the Luxembourg Parliament on 8 February 2017.
What was presented as the strength of the bill of law, i.e. the bringing together of several disparate legislative changes into a single text, has proved to be its major weakness. As a consequence, the Omnibus Law was only adopted more than two years after it was deposited with the Luxembourg Parliament.
One of the aims of the Omnibus Law is to reduce administrative complexity, notably in the field of urban planning. The most significant changes can be summarised as follows:
- Municipalities having a technical service department with at least one urban planner or urban developer are, from now on, themselves allowed to draft general or special development plans (plans d'aménagement général ou particulier), without having to use the services of an external person;
- The initiative to draft a special "new district" development plan (plan d'aménagement particulier "nouveau quartier") can come from any person with a qualification for such a purpose. This entitlement must be consented to in writing by at least half of the landowners, together holding at least half the surface of the land concerned. Thus, it is no longer necessary to obtain the consent of all the landowners concerned in order to draft a special "new district" development plan;
- For every special "new district" development plan which envisages more than 25 housing units, at least 10% of the gross constructed area dedicated to housing must be reserved for low-cost housing;
- The deadline within which the assessment unit (cellule d'évaluation) has to issue its opinion with a view to adopting special development plans is reduced from three months to one month;
- The Omnibus Law introduces a simplified procedure for specific amendments to a special development plan. It also introduces the principle of tacit authorisation concerning the Minister's approval of the municipal council's decisions relating to the implementation agreement (convention d'exécution) and implementation project (projet d'exécution) of a special "new district" development plan;
- In their municipal regulation on buildings (règlement sur les bâtisses), municipalities may define smaller-scale works for which no building permits are required. The municipal regulation on buildings may provide that some or all of these works have to be notified to the mayor;
- The fixed term of a building permit can be extended twice, each time for a maximum period of one year. Before the Omnibus Law, the fixed term could only be extended once.
The Omnibus Law entered into force on 1 April 2017.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.