Amendments to the Act on Spatial Planning and Development

On 24 September 2023, some provisions of the Act of 7 July 2023 amending the Spatial Planning and Development and certain other acts (Journal of Laws of 2023, item 1688 - hereinafter the “Amending Act”), including exceptionally extensive changes to the Act of 27 March 2003 on Spatial Planning and Development and amendments to a number of other acts, entered into force.

In the following summary, the most important changes introduced by the above-mentioned Amending Act have been presented.

1. A new planning tool has been introduced - municipality’s general plan (Article 13a), which will be mandatorily adopted for the entire municipality (excluding closed areas), with the status of an act of the local law and will replace the of conditions and directions of spatial development of a municipality. Studies of the conditions and directions of spatial development of a municipality shall remain in force until the date of entry into force of the municipality’s general plan in a given municipality, but no longer than until 31 December 2025 (Article 65 of the Amending Act).

Arrangements of the municipality’s general plan shall be binding for both local plans and decisions on development conditions. The municipality’s general plan indicates a framework for the target spatial development and provides guidance for detailed design measures in subsequent stages of the planning process.

The municipality’s general plan specifies the planning zones (Article 13c) and municipal urban planning standards (Article 13e), as well as supplementary development areas and inner city development areas may be defined.

2. Public participation in establishing spatial planning acts has been ensured (Chapter 1a “Public Participation”) by means of:

1) enabling stakeholders to participate in the preparation of spatial planning acts, including to make statements, submit applications or participate in public consultations;

2) learning about the needs, gathering opinions and ideas of stakeholders on the spatial policy of a municipality;

3) initiating, enabling and supporting activities aiming to develop dialogue between stakeholders within the scope of development and management of spatial policy, as well as increasing stakeholder participation in developing and managing spatial policy.

A circle of stakeholders in the Public Participation shall include natural persons, legal persons, organisational units which are not legal persons and to which an act grants legal capacity, local government units and their organisational units, public authorities and other entities, in particular auxiliary units of the municipality and advisory and consulting bodies of the municipality.

3. A new, special form of local plan has been introduced - the integrated investment plan (Article 37ea), which applies to any investment and is adopted by the municipal council at the request of the investor submitted by means of the head of the commune, district or city mayor. The integrated investment plan shall cover the area of the main investment and the supplementary investment, and its entry into force shall cause the local plans or their parts relating to the area covered by this integrated plan to lose their validity. The investor submitting a request for its adoption shall attach its draft. The request for adoption of an integrated investment plan shall be made available by the city mayor, district mayor or head of the commune in the Urban Register within 3 days from the date of its receipt and handed over to the municipal council.

The investor and the municipality shall conclude an urban planning agreement in the form of a notarial deed (Article 37ed) regulating mutual obligations of the parties, including the investor's obligation to carry out the complementary investment and, in particular, to:

1) hand over the real property constituting a part of the subject matter of the main investment;

2) cover all or part of the costs of carrying out the supplementary investment, including payment of the price for the real property;

3) cover all or part of the costs of adopting the integrated investment plan incurred by the municipality.

If an investor is the owner or perpetual usufructuary of the real property on which the supplementary investment is to be carried out, the investor shall undertake to sell this real property to the municipality by means of the urban planning agreement. A third party who is the owner or perpetual usufructuary of the real property on which the supplementary investment is to be carried out, may undertake to sell this real property to the municipality by means of the urban planning agreement.

4. A restriction has been introduced on the validity of development decisions, which, subject to Article 62 of the Amending Act, are valid for five years from the date on which they became final.  This is the amount of time an investor has to obtain a building permit or to commence carrying out the investment.

5. A simplified mode of the planning procedure has been introduced in certain cases (Article 27b), as well as the possibility of simultaneous procedures for different acts and there has also been a limitation of the necessity to repeat public consultations.

6. A set of provisions (Chapter 5b) has been introduced as a legal basis for the creation of a new public register - the Urban Register, constituting a source of information and data, including spatial data in the field of planning and spatial development, such as e.g. documents drawn up during the preparation of the planning acts, reports from public consultations, administrative decisions related to spatial planning, decisions of supervisory bodies. This Register is supposed to be kept in an ICT system and will constitute a free of charge integrated system, accessible to all interested parties. Provisions regarding this Register are expected to become effective as of 1 January 2026.

If you have any questions regarding the changes, please do not hesitate to contact our expert: Maciej Prusak (