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Objecting to a zoning plan

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNederlandse versie

A change in your municipality's zoning plan may cause your business to suffer financial loss. This is called planning damage. For example, if you have to apply for new permits as a result. Or you can no longer expand your business. Or if the value of your business premises drops. In such cases, you can ask for a change to the zoning plan. If a change is no longer possible, you can demand compensation for planning damages.

Respond to the zoning plan

After the completed zoning plan is published, you have 6 weeks to respond. The municipality announces zoning plans in different ways:

  • on the municipal website
  • in a free local paper
  • in a residents' letter
  • in the Government Gazette (Staatscourant)

Submit your objections to the municipality

The zoning plan is amended in a number of stages. The zoning plan announcement tells you how and at what stage you can respond:

  • To the preliminary draft plan. Your response is called inspraak (‘public participation’).
  • To the draft plan. This is called zienswijze indienen (‘submitting an opinion’). This is necessary if you need to lodge an appeal later.
  • To the final zoning plan. Make sure consultation is possible during a committee or municipal council meeting for adopting the plan.

Contact your municipality to find out how the public participation procedure works in your city or town.

Submit a response together with other entrepreneurs

The planned change in zoning may also have financial consequences for other businesses in your area. So check with those businesses and the local entrepreneurs’ association. See if you can submit a response to the zoning plan together. Or look for information on similar cases. You can also seek advice from your sector organisation or an employers' association.

Appeal to the Council of State

Do you disagree with the final zoning plan? Then you can appeal to the Council of State (Raad van State, in Dutch). You have 6 weeks to lodge an appeal from the date mentioned by the municipality in the announcement. Do you want to stop zoning plan works? Then submit a request for a preliminary injunction (in Dutch), which would pause all works until the final judgement by the court. You will have to pay extra court fees for this. The fees will be refunded if the court rules in your favour.

Apply for planning damages

Have you not succeeded in getting the zoning plan changed? Then apply for compensation for planning damages through a letter or form. If your municipality rejects your request, you can file an objection. This must be done within 6 weeks of the rejection. If your municipality rejects your objection, you can lodge an appeal with the court (in Dutch). As a final step, you can lodge an appeal with the Council of State. You can find more information about applying for planning damages on your municipality's website.

The procedure for planning damages is separate from an appeal against the zoning plan. Keep in mind that this procedure can take several years.

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