|WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LAND PLANNING APPROVAL PROCESSES
The Authority's Urban Planning Polices
Key to the Authority's urban planning policies is the Urban Development Framework (UDF), a strategic planning report which provides a critical framework for the future development of Greater Port Harcourt, leading it away from the chaotic status quo into a bustling world-class city of the 21st Century. The UDF provides the background for The Greater Port Harcourt Master Plan.
The master plan is a refinement of the UDF focusing individually on the Old and the New City, albeit much emphasis was placed on the New City due to the focus of the project brief. For the sake of completeness the master plan included a section of the Old City containing a range of development principles for each of the Old City precincts to guide upliftment and redevelopment efforts in future.
The New City master plan is a spatial blue print prepared for the future growth area of Greater Port Harcourt. Whereas the Urban Development Framework provides a strategic plan for the entire city of Greater Port Harcourt, the New City master plan concentrates on the new development area, refining the Urban Development Framework and providing a town plan at district level supported by clear planning principles and tested urban modeling.
||How does the Authority intend to implement the Master Plan
The following are the tools for the implementation of the Master Plan;
Town Planning Regulations /Land Use Management Schemes
Land Acquisition / Compensation Policy
Designation of Planning Areas/ Community Layout
Development Control / Enforcement
||How Does the Authority enforce Planning Laws and Regulations?
Enforcement of regulations is applied through the service of notices on the contravener. The effectiveness of the laws and regulations controlling development depends on the powers available to the Development Control Department and/ or the Authority to ensure compliance in event of breach of planning control
What Are the Laws Governing Planning Activities ?
- Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority Law No. 2 Of 2009.
- Rivers State Physical Planning and Development Law No 6 of 2003
- Building Lines Law - Laws of Nigeria Vol.1 Cap 19@pg 203
- Land Development Provision for Roads Law - Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria Vol.4 Cap 73 @Pg 1551
- State Lands Law - Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria Vol.6 Cap 125 @ Pg 2281
- State Lands Special Provision Law - Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria Vol.6 Cap126 @Pg 2301
- Land Use Act L5 - Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004
What is Planning Permission?
Planning permission or planning consent is the permission required by the developer in order to be granted approval from the Authority to carry out development on land.
The Land Use Management Scheme (LUMS) is the tool used to guide the making of such decisions and ensures development is in the right place and manner. It helps to maintain a balance between development, growth and environmental sustainability.
How Does One Apply for Planning Permission?
All developers wishing to commence development of plots, temporary or permanent, within the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority Area shall apply on prescribed application forms obtainable upon payment of the relevant fees from the Authority. Steps Towards Obtaining Permission are as follows:-
STEP ONE: Outline Planning Application (OPA)
This is an application to seek planning permission in principle, before going to the extent of preparing detailed drawings. An application for 'outline' planning permission is submitted to ascertain whether the development is acceptable in principle. This application is relevant where the erection of a building is proposed.
It is therefore a planning permission for the erection of a building subject to a condition(s) requiring the subsequent approval of the Authority.
Some of the matters considered in Outline Planning Application are:
- External appearance
- Means of access
STEP TWO: Full Planning Permission
Full Planning Application (FPA)
This is an application with detailed drawing and information necessary to enable the Authority reach its decision. This does not, however preclude the Authority from asking for such further information as it considers necessary.
The application will include:
- The relevant application forms
- The site plan, detailed building plans, engineering drawings.
- Drawings and information in such number as the Authority may require as stated in its notes for applicants.
- The appropriate fee.
- The Authority may, in certain circumstances, require an Environmental Impact Assessment and Health Safety and Environment Policy Reports.
- Applicants are advised to refer to Development Application Check list.
- Processing of applications are carried out by various departments/units within the Authority; i.e. Planning, Health, Survey, Engineering, and Inspectorate.
- Development approval may be granted with or without conditions or refused.
||How long will it take to get Planning Permission?
The period during which the Authority must give notice of its decision on a valid application shall be 60 days or 90 days (depending on the type of application) from the date of receipt of the application by the Authority
||What's Next After Obtaining Planning Permission?
Commencement of building works.
A holder of approved building plan applies to the Authority to obtain permission for commencement of building works.
Stages of Inspection.
Works at the building site are inspected by the Authority's technical team for compliance at every stage of construction, from setting out / commencement, foundation /basement, to super structure, mechanical/ electrical installation etc. Certificates of compliance are issued to the applicant at every stage of construction work, and finally certificate of habitation / occupation of building after completion.
What happens if you commence Development without Permission?
Any developer who commences work without permission shall be issued notices such as;
Contravention notices are served when a building or structure in any way violates provisions in the regulations or the prosecution of work on any building or structure or part thereof is carried out in such a manner as to be in conflict or violates the provisions of the regulations. The contravention notice directs the discontinuation of illegal action of the developer. Other notices that can be issued include:
- Stop Work Order.
- Enforcement Notices.
- Demolition Notice.
||Continuous Breach of Planning Regulation
Contraveners will be prosecuted and upon conviction, a fine will be imposed, imprisonment or both.
||Appeal against Planning Decision
Appeal to a Planning Tribunal. A dissatisfied applicant can appeal the decision(s) of the Authority to the Planning Tribunal.
||Further Appeal to the High Court
If an applicant is not satisfied with the decision(s) of the Planning Tribunal, he/she can further appeal to the High Court.
LAND ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT
Step by step guide to purchasing land in GPHCDA.
1st Scenario (Do you want Land within GPHC?)
- Apply for allocation of land to GPHCDA.
- Submit application form with relevant documents.
- Upon allocation pay all land levies and charges.
- Apply for planning permission, after obtaining permit build within 2 years to avoid revocation.
- Apply for Deed of Assignment.
2nd Scenario ( Do you already own Land within GPHC?)
- Verify land status: apply for charting of land.
- Adhere to outcome of verification/ charting.
- Revalidate land title.
- Apply for planning permission.