With respect to zonal and detailed urbanism plans, there is no standard validity period expressly regulated under the Romanian law. According to Law 350/2001, it is up to the local authorities to determine such validity periods by reference to the content/ complexity of the respective urbanism documentation.
The only reference to a specific validity period is regulated with respect to general urbanism plans, the law stating clearly that such needs to be renewed every 10 years (and that, until such new general plan is approved, the former plan remains in force, provided the local authority initiates the renewal related formalities before the expiry date). However, the 10-year validity term set forth by the Romanian legislator only with respect to general urbanism plans cannot be analogically applied with respect to the other urbanism plans (i.e. zonal and detailed urbanism plans).
Where no express validity period of a zonal or detailed urbanism plan is specified in the approval decision issued by the local authority, as it often happens in the Romanian authorities’ practice, the effectiveness of such urbanism plan should not be affected. The view is also shared by some Romanian courts (e.g. the Cluj Tribunal under a decision passed in 2016).
More specifically, the zonal or detailed urbanism plan should be deemed valid until the expiry of the superior urbanism documentation, namely: # the zonal urbanism plan should be deemed valid until the expiry of the general urbanism plan and # the detailed urbanism plan should be deemed valid until the expiry of the zonal urbanism plan.
This is because the general urbanism plan is treated, from a legal standing, as a legal framework for the other two and the expiry thereof deprives the other two (i.e. the zonal and the detailed urbanism plan) of the legal basis they were grounded upon.
In the same logic, the validity of the zonal or urbanism plan, if longer than the term of the general urbanism plan, should, in our view, cease at the moment the general urbanism plan expires.
Of course, the effectiveness of the zonal or detailed urbanism plans could cease earlier if:
- cancelled in court under a final court decision, or
- replaced by a subsequent urbanism plan covering the same area, or
- the superior urbanism documentation based on which they were prepared and approved expires or is invalidated under a final court decision.
For the avoidance of doubt, if the validity of the general urbanism plan is extended, the detailed or zonal urbanism plans issued based on such should remain valid.
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Our conclusions above have been expressed in a comprehensive article published on juridice.ro.