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Old 16.01.2012, 13:05
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Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

We are renting an apartment whilst we look to purchase a house. The apartments have a piece of rough land to the side and we have always thought that someone would want to build on it. The land is very close to our bedrooms and balcony.

Over Christmas our worst fears came true. A number of large tall rods were inserted into the ground marking out the area where the builder wants to put the new building. I have checked on our Gemeinde website and they have just put in an application to build two apartment blocks with underground parking.

I will be going to look at the planning documents at the Gemeinde and am hoping to be able to submit an objection to them based on them being too close to our apartment block.

I don't know the law in this area over here so I wondered whether anyone has been through similar and can share experiences?
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Old 16.01.2012, 15:26
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

The geminde will have a list of rules that the people building have to follow -these include how close to the border of the property they are allowed to build, how high the house can be etc.

I think you can complain but not sure if you have to be the house owner to do this - the owner of your appartment will have been send information on the new building. If the geminde says its allowed legally then I think its hard to get things changed - but have never done this so don't know exactly - just from what I have heard
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Old 16.01.2012, 15:50
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

I don't know anything about challenging a planning application... but I may be able to offer hope on your view being spoilt.

But my parents moved here 5 and a half years ago. There were those long rods you mentioned in land near where they live, the plan was to build several homes.

The work has still not started. Something to do with the fact that here, work cannot start until all planned property in the development has been sold. It's not like in the UK where they build the blocks and then try and sell the blocks / individual flats afterwards.

So I wouldn't panic just yet... maybe as a first step try and discover just how close to being built this development is! You never know, it could not get off the ground until you're gone.
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Old 16.01.2012, 15:58
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

In Geneva the 'gap' between buildings that aren't attached has to be at least 4 metres, excluding balconies apparently! Happened to us about ten years ago and was one of the reasons we eventually moved.
In theory the new building should also not have windows that look directly into yours, something that in our case was missed until it was too late, the builders having misread the plans and starting two metres out off line.

Every Canton probably has slightly different rules so you'll need to check with your town's Mairie.

If you're really worried then contact the owners of your building, if you can get support from other tenants it might help, but if the markers have gone into the ground I suspect it's already too late to do much.

A good excuse to hasten your house-hunting?
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Old 16.01.2012, 16:12
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

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Something to do with the fact that here, work cannot start until all planned property in the development has been sold.
FYI: That's not a (legal) rule but simply a case of investors who are not willing to take the risk of not selling all units. If someone is willing to take that risk he can start with construction as soon as he has the building permit.
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Old 16.01.2012, 16:19
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

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I think you can complain but not sure if you have to be the house owner to do this - the owner of your appartment will have been send information on the new building. If the geminde says its allowed legally then I think its hard to get things changed - but have never done this so don't know exactly - just from what I have heard
My understanding is that you don't have to be an owner to complain. You don't even need to be a neighbour. Anybody can technically object to anything, as long as they can formulate a valid reason for objecting. But I'm no lawyer and could be mistaken.
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Old 16.01.2012, 16:21
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

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We are renting an apartment whilst we look to purchase a house. The apartments have a piece of rough land to the side and we have always thought that someone would want to build on it. The land is very close to our bedrooms and balcony.

Over Christmas our worst fears came true. A number of large tall rods were inserted into the ground marking out the area where the builder wants to put the new building. I have checked on our Gemeinde website and they have just put in an application to build two apartment blocks with underground parking.

I will be going to look at the planning documents at the Gemeinde and am hoping to be able to submit an objection to them based on them being too close to our apartment block.

I don't know the law in this area over here so I wondered whether anyone has been through similar and can share experiences?
I must say, you've integrated well into society here.
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Old 16.01.2012, 16:29
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

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FYI: That's not a (legal) rule but simply a case of investors who are not willing to take the risk of not selling all units. If someone is willing to take that risk he can start with construction as soon as he has the building permit.
Thanks... you learn something every day!
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Old 16.01.2012, 16:36
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

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We are renting an apartment whilst we look to purchase a house.
While you can indeed issue a challenge, keep in mind the laws of karma: what goes around comes around.

When you buy your house your neighbors will likely try to stop any renovation or building you wish to do.

If you are only there short term, why make waves/enemies? Because these things usually end badly in one way or another.

Just a thought.
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Old 16.01.2012, 16:37
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

I am no authority in the subject but i recently build my own house and had a nightmare with the planning permission stage. (because our architect ignored certain requirements)

For us, the geminde did not post the planned project or allow the sticks to be put up until they thoughtfully looked and approved the project themselves, each new build not only has to comply with general Swiss building rules, but each Kanton and Geminde has their own requirements. Only when the planned project fulfilled all these requirements, was it posted for approval.

We were told, anyone could argue the project but they would have to pay a fee of CHF700 when doing so, this is to stop those putting in a complain for the reasons that nobody cares AKA it spoils my view, it will be loud, etc. This is stop stop people complaining just to delay the build.

Sorry to say, but if they are at the sticks up stage, you can argue it, but you probably have little chance.

PS regarding distances, our geminde requires 4 meters distance between houses. But, if the owners of both properties were willing to sign an agreement accepting that the distance is less, the Geminde agreed to bend the rule, 2 new houses just down from us have less than 3 meters distance.
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Old 18.01.2012, 13:43
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

My friend in Altendorf engaged a lawyer immediately when the house infront was due to be knocked down and a huge apartment block built, completely obstructing the lake view.
The lawyer told him he would not win but could hold things up for ever with the appeals process.
The builder in the end changed the site of the apartment block on the land rather than being delayed so that my friend still had a view - with a legally binding agreement

My experience was different. The house in front of us was demolished and wanting to be a good neighbour , i had a chat with them, they informally said yes , no problem. But they also had a chat to others at the side and accomodated their desires rather than ours so when built now is a yellow moinstrosity which blocks out daylight. We did then complain to the Gemeinde that it wasn't as per plan but whereas in UK if you build something 2 feet from plan, it is knocked down, that is not seen as a remedy here...
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Old 18.01.2012, 14:18
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

Of course this is just anecdotal experience, but in autumn 2010 we received notice that the old block of flats opposite our apartment was to be demolished in early 2011 and then replaced by a large hotel, that would extend further than the boundary of the previous block, also taking up the garden and parking spaces in between us, that would ultimately result in the hotel guests looking across a very narrow gap of a few metres (approx 3m) directly into our apartment.

The planning sticks went up over Christmas 2010 and disappeared again within a couple of weeks. We considered disputing it, as it would completely block out the already limited view and light from our apartment. But as we were only tenants, and were considering moving anyway to a larger apartment at some point, this hastened our search. We also didn't want to be living on top of a building site, nor fancied our chances of finding a replacement tenant while living on top of said building site.

We were fortunate and found a new place quickly and moved within 3 months, but note that only now, over a year later have the old apartments finally been vacated. Still no demolition in sight...

So I guess what I'm saying is it's not necessarily cause for immediate panic - things could still take a lot of time to get moving, giving you time to focus your search for your new home in the meantime.
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Old 18.01.2012, 16:42
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

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We are renting an apartment whilst we look to purchase a house. The apartments have a piece of rough land to the side and we have always thought that someone would want to build on it. The land is very close to our bedrooms and balcony.

Over Christmas our worst fears came true. A number of large tall rods were inserted into the ground marking out the area where the builder wants to put the new building. I have checked on our Gemeinde website and they have just put in an application to build two apartment blocks with underground parking.

I will be going to look at the planning documents at the Gemeinde and am hoping to be able to submit an objection to them based on them being too close to our apartment block.

I don't know the law in this area over here so I wondered whether anyone has been through similar and can share experiences?
In a case like this the "Näherbaurecht" (right to build a building close to another buildung) has to be granted by the owner of the neibouring plots and houses. Check with the owner of you appartement block if that's the case.
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Old 18.01.2012, 18:27
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

If the land is Bau land & all the rules are followed in the end there is little you can do except offer to by the land! You don't own the view, if your land only extends 4m infront of your house what do you expect.
Buy a plot big enough for 2-4 houses & only build 1 then your view is safe.
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Old 19.01.2012, 09:28
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

You say you want to object because you feel the building is too close to your own. Before you make an objection, go and read your local building regulations. The local authorities will let you read them and they may even be directly available online. The building regulations will include requirements on distances, heights, roof angles and hundreds of other things.
The building heights and roof angles are things worth looking at, as some architects may try and slip in an extra floor under the roof.
However, most architects these days are pretty savvy and the local authorities should have have verified the plans for compliance before public enquiry. Objecting just because you don't like what you see is probably a waste of time. If you have concrete issues (driveway too close to yours or whatever), go and discuss it directly with the architect. The public enquiry will only relate to compliance with building regulations.
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Old 19.01.2012, 11:45
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

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You say you want to object because you feel the building is too close to your own. Before you make an objection, go and read your local building regulations. The local authorities will let you read them and they may even be directly available online. The building regulations will include requirements on distances, heights, roof angles and hundreds of other things.
The building heights and roof angles are things worth looking at, as some architects may try and slip in an extra floor under the roof.
However, most architects these days are pretty savvy and the local authorities should have have verified the plans for compliance before public enquiry. Objecting just because you don't like what you see is probably a waste of time. If you have concrete issues (driveway too close to yours or whatever), go and discuss it directly with the architect. The public enquiry will only relate to compliance with building regulations.
The OP would need a "Baureglement" and an additional "Zonenplan",
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Old 19.01.2012, 11:58
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Re: Anyone ever challenged a planning application?

Why go through the trouble of objecting if you are only renting temporary until you find a house to buy?
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