Sector laws regulating land, tourism and farming in the Balearic Islands affected by the publication of the Decree Law on Urgent Urban Planning Measures

1 February 2016 - Daniel Cano

On 12th January, the Balearic Islands Government approved the Decree Law on Urgent Urban Planning Measures, which suspends or amends articles of sector laws regulating land, tourism and farming.

This Decree Law was published the following day in the BOIB (Official Gazette of the Balearic Islands) and entered into force on 14th January, 2016. The most important changes made by the new regulations are described below.

Land Law

Articles 24 and 32 of Law 2/2014, of 25th March, 2014, on land planning and use have been amended. The application of article 26 of the law has also been suspended, in addition to its fifth and sixth additional provisions, and its tenth transitional provision.    

The Decree approved establishes that the only land to be considered as urban land is that which is classified as such under general urban planning legislation and which has all, not just some, of the basic urban services (road access, water, sanitation services and electricity[1]).

In contrast, the tenth transitional provision of the Land Law provided for the possibility of instituting a process of legalization for those illegal constructions built on rural land. With the new legislation, this provision is suspended either until the amended version of it is approved or until 31st December, 2017. For those processes that are underway, the first transitional provision of the Decree establishes that processing of them will continue provided that all the necessary documentation has been presented and that the single-family residence/home, legalization of which is sought, is not in ANEI (Área Natural de Especial Interés – Natural Area of Special Interest).     

Tourism Law

Articles 25, 44 and 90 of Law 8/2012, of 19th July, 2012, on Tourism in the Balearic Islands have been amended; and as in the case with the Land Law, the application of certain provisions of the legislation is suspended, for example, article 35, regulating co-owned accommodation establishments.

The new provisions that the Decree introduces seek to limit expansion and construction of hotel and tourist establishments. The most significant new provisions are as follows:

  • maximum buildable areas are limited
  • locating new golf courses or sports facilities on rural land is prohibited if they are combined with tourist accommodation
  • it is necessary to take into account the general interest and environmental impact that the expansion or creation of a hotel establishment could have
  • the expansion of any type of hotel establishment is limited to 20% of its building; and
  • the expansion, reform, demolition or reconstruction of a hotel establishment cannot exceed the maximum existing or permitted height, unless this is necessary for the installation of elevator equipment, emergency staircases, air conditioning, telecommunications, energy efficiency and homogenizing parts of the roofing, provided that this expansion is reasonable.

Law on Agriculture

The Law on Agriculture, Law 12/2014, of 16th December, 2014, is similarly affected by the application of the Decree, with regard to both the new wording of its articles and the suspension of some of its provisions.   

According to the Balear Executive, the aim of the Decree is to recover land classified as rural in order that it can be used for those activities that are appropriate to such land.    Therefore, among other reforms, we find the following:

  • for the development of different activities a declaration of general interest is required;
  • the concept of agrotourism is limited and will be regulated by the Tourism Law;
  • activities that are complementary to agrarian activity will require a licence; and
  • activities of a commercial nature can no longer be classified as activities complementary to agrarian activity, with the result that, according to government declarations, it will no longer be possible to construct a private complex with polo grounds and an offer of complementary services.

[1] Art. 27 of Legislative Decree 1/2010, of 3rd August, 2010, approving the Consolidated Text of the Urban Planning Law.

Más información: Daniel Cano