The vacant site levy was introduced in 2015 with the aim of incentivising the development of vacant and under-utilised sites in urban areas
Carlow County Council's Planning Department is "continuing to progress the establishment of a Vacant Site Register".
To facilitate implementation of the levy the assessment of potential vacant sites is now progressing and comprises of the carrying out of site inspections, planning history and landownership searches, the drafting of site reports and template letters and notices, and referrals to internal departments for comments/observations.
The Vacant Sites Register is available to view online on the Council’s website at www.carlow.ie.
The levy is payable in arrears each year beginning in 2019. For 2018, the levy is 3% of the site’s market value — however, under Budget 2018, it is now to be increased to 7% for 2019.
There are currently eight sites listed on the Carlow register.
Entries will be made on the Register following the completion of site assessments and the issuing of notices pursuant to the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, as amended by the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018.
To date 21 Notices under Section 7(1) of the Act have been issued. A Section 7(1) Notice is a Notice of proposed entry on the Vacant Sites Register.
A property owner is entitled to make a submission to the planning authority within 28 days following receipt of the Notice.
To date 13 submissions have been received in response to the Section 7(1) Notices issued. On foot of a review of the submissions received, recommendations to close a total of 3 vacant site files have been made to date.
In addition, and as provided for under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, having considered a submission(s), and the Planning Department is still of the view that a site(s) should be entered on the vacant sites register, a written notice(s) must be issued to the owner(s) when the site is entered on the vacant sites register.
Taking account of the foregoing, the Planning Department has to date issued a total of 10 Section 7(3) Notices.
A site owner can appeal the Planning Department’s decision (i.e. the 7(3) Notice) to enter a site on the vacant sites register to An Bord Pleanala within 28 days after the date of the notice of such an entry having been made.
The entry of a site on the vacant sites register cannot take effect until the appeal is determined by An Bord Pleanala. If An Bord Pleanala upholds an appeal the entry on the vacant sites register must be cancelled.
To date four appeals have been received by An Bord Pleanala.