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01 February 2024

The integrated investment plan: a new legal tool for real estate investors in Poland

A noteworthy amendment to Poland's Act on Spatial Planning and Development came into effect on 24 September 2023. It includes the  integrated investment plan (IIP), a powerful tool that allows investors to actively contribute to spatial planning policies.

A distinctive variant of the local zoning plan, the IIP constitutes a legal basis for determining whether and under what conditions an investment can be made. As such, it allows investors to help shape local urban policy. This is in sharp contrast to the prior legislation, under which only municipal authorities could adopt a local zoning plan and investors had no legal mandate to effectively influence or modify it to align with their needs. The amendment thus seeks to supplement the existing planning regulations with mechanisms that foster collaboration between local authorities and potential investors.

Until now, obtaining a building permit necessitated an examination to determine if the proposed investment aligned with the local zoning plan. Where no local zoning plan was adopted, a zoning decision was issued. Regrettably, if the local zoning plan restricted or outright prohibited development in the desired form, investors had little hope of swaying the zoning plan in their favour.

A better way

The new regulations meet the needs of the market. Now investors can apply to adopt a new zoning plan  with a draft project of the IIP. The municipal council may grant consent to prepare an IIP and may delegate the mayor to negotiate with the investor. After these negotiations, the parties formalise their negotiations in an urban planning agreement in which the municipality may commit to making supplementary investments, such as public infrastructure. The investor, in turn, may assume the responsibility for financing these supplementary investments and offer additional contributions. Notably, the city council may accept or reject arrangements proposed in the agreement, but cannot amend its provisions.

Thanks to this landmark amendment, developers can now actively shape urban planning and pursue construction projects in areas that used to be excluded by restrictive provisions or the absence of local zoning plans. It represents the next step in a legislative evolution, one that encourages full-fledged cooperation between local authorities and investors.

authors: Karolina Samocik, Róża Szatan