Decree to prolong certain CoBAT deadlines

Special powers decree no. 2020/052 to prolong certain CoBAT deadlines

Due to new urgent measures taken by the federal government to limit the spread of the COVID-19 second wave, the government of the Brussels Capital Region has adopted, on 23 December 2020, the special powers decree no. 2020/052 to prolong certain deadlines set by the Brussels Town Planning Code (CoBAT) as well as by the ordinance of 5 June 1997 with regard to environmental permits and its implementation decree with regard to the minimum qualification requirements for refrigeration technicians, and certain implementation decrees with regard to energy management and the electricity and gas markets in the Brussels Capital Region.

This degree was published in the Belgian Official Journal on 31 December 2020.

To be specific, this decree provides for the following four measures :

  • Firstly, the compulsory deadline within which the board of mayor and aldermen or the delegated official must notify their decision has been prolonged by three months at most. This extension applies to applications submitted between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021.
  • Secondly, the deadline within which the consultation committee has to deliver its opinion is extended by 45 days.
  • Thirdly, so as to guarantee that the reorganisation of the public inquiry and the meetings of the consultation committee complies with the social distancing measures required by the federal government, their operating mode is modified.

These are the modifications: During the public inquiries, an appointment must be made for the following proceedings:

  • (1) consulting the administrative file;
  • (2) communicating technical explanations;
  • (3) submitting an observation or a verbal complaint.

Virtual meetings are to be privileged for the consultation committee, and :

  • (1) only people who have expressly asked to be heard during the public inquiry will be allowed to attend the meeting of the consultation committee;
  • (2) two people at most may accompany or represent the applicant;
  • (3) when there is a petition, a district committee or any other type of association involved, two people at most per petition, per district committee or per association will be allowed to attend the meeting of the consultation committee;
  • (4) a real-life meeting of the consultation committee is possible if it strictly complies with the protocol for the organisation of these meetings, or else a videoconference is an option too. Both versions can also be combined.
  • (5) the secretariat of the consultation committee chooses the organisation method for the committee meetings.
  • (6) if the consultation committee meeting takes place by videoconference, that does not require the prior consent of all claimants wishing to be heard by the committee. However, should a claimant inform the municipality that they are unable to attend a consultation committee meeting by videoconference, the municipality will offer them the use of a room, complying with the sanitary and barrier measures, where they can attend the videoconference meeting and participate in it.
  • (7) if no claimant has asked to be heard by the consultation committee, and with the consent of the applicant, the meeting will be held with just the members of the consultation committee present, as mentioned in article 2 of the decree of the Brussels Regional Authority dated 29 June 1992 with regard to consultation committees.

These rules will apply until 31 December 2021.

Fourthly, the deadline within which the board of urban planning must notify its opinion on the appeal is prolonged by two months at most.

This extension applies to appeals lodged between 1 January and 31 March 2021, regardless of whether or not the claimant has asked for a hearing before the board of urban planning.

The Legal Affairs Department

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