On Wednesday, February 15, in the presence of the Riga City Council leadership, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Māris Sprindžuks signed an order on the entry into force of the Riga Spatial Plan, thus cancelling the previous minister's decision on the suspension of the plan. Whereas, on Thursday, February 16, the Riga City Council plans to withdraw its appeal to the Constitutional Court against the decision of the previous Minister.
Chairman of Riga City Council Mārtiņš Staķis: "This decision has restored justice. The new order confirms that the claims of the Riga City Council and a number of other organisations and institutions that the suspension of the city's spatial plan was completely disproportionate and unjustified have been substantiated. The fact that we can start applying the plan gives clarity about the future for Riga's entrepreneurs, potential investors, neighbourhood associations, NGOs and residents. This issue has finally been resolved and development in Riga can continue. Thank you to the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Māris Sprindžuks for this national and justified decision!"
Vilnis Ķirsis, Deputy Chairman or Riga City Council for Transport Infrastructure and Development, states: "Today is the day when Riga essentially concludes a nearly 10-year cycle of work on the city's spatial plan, actively involving the best experts, analysing the best examples from other cities, listening to residents and businesses. We are convinced that the spatial plan is of high quality and is very necessary for Riga – it will reduce bureaucracy for both private individuals and investors, it will make many processes in the city simpler, clearer and more understandable."
The new Riga Spatial Plan (RSP) sets out the requirements for the use and development of the territory, except for the Historic Centre of Riga and its Protection Zone, where the Riga Historic Centre and its Protection Zone Spatial Plan is in force. The new RSP is in line with the city's sustainable development strategy and the current national legal framework, contributing to the development of Riga in line with the current socio-economic situation. The RSP is also clearer and easier to understand compared to the previous spatial plan, thus reducing the bureaucratic burden and facilitating its application.
The plan provides for more flexible and varied development options, especially in mixed-use areas, encouraging business development and the introduction of new, modern technologies in production facilities, thus balancing the requirements of environmental protection and industrial development. It is important that the RSP restricts the development of gambling facilities in the city.
The RSP solutions will contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage by specifying the cultural heritage to be protected and the requirements for dealing with cultural heritage structures. The plan details the requirements for building in the areas of urban monuments and building protection.
The RSP has increased the proportion of nature and green areas in the city, protecting even small green areas from development. Specific requirements are laid down for landscaping, noise and air pollution control through green planting. Rules on air pollution control and monitoring are also specified. It also aims to adapt to climate change; for example, by providing options for sustainable rain water management.
The plan is available on the unified national geospatial data portal GeoLatvija.lv, on the Riga geospatial data portal GeoRīga and on the website of the Riga City Council Urban Development Department.
As reported, in December 2021, the Riga City Council adopted a decision on the approval of the Riga Spatial Plan, but in March 2022 the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Artūrs Toms Plešs suspended the plan. In June, the Riga City Council challenged the Minister's decision before the Constitutional Court. On Thursday, February 16, the Riga City Council will hold an extraordinary meeting to decide on the withdrawal of the submitted claim.
Information was prepared by: Lelde Rudzika, Project Coordinator at External Communication Division of Riga City Council Communication Department, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org