|Ph.D Student||Carmon Dafna|
|Subject||The Public's Right to be Heard in Planning Procedures: The|
Case of Israel from a Cross-National Perspective
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Rachelle Alterman|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The right to be heard is one of the principles of natural justice; in democratic countries, it is encompassed in administrative law. In the planning laws of most countries, public participation in statutory planning processes derives from the right to be heard.
In Israel, the right to be heard is expressed in planning law by the objections procedure. This procedure allows objectors to be heard by planning committees, and the committees are legally bound to hear their objections. In recent years, the Knesset has tried repeatedly to limit the right to be heard, but the courts have protected this right. These contradictory trends raise questions about the implementation of the right to be heard and what the best policy is for protecting the public's rights in the planning process.
In this study we propose to examine critically the legal provisions for the right to be heard in Israel’s planning process. To conduct a critical examination, one must have standards. Therefore, an additional goal of this study is to develop criteria for evaluating the provisions in planning law for the right to be heard. A critical examination also requires a standard for comparison. We have chosen to compare three countries, Israel, England, and the Netherlands, in order to pinpoint the best practices.
The criteria we have developed are based on the three theoretical foundations of the study: administrative law, public participation, and planning theory. The criteria are: the broadness of parties entitled to be heard, the broadness of interests permitted, maximum accessibility, the probability of maximum influence, and the weight of the principle of efficiency.
The comparative study analyzes the laws and practice of the three countries. Our study included a field research examining a sample of local authorities in each of the countries. In Netherlands and England we conducted a survey, by interviewing key people in the planning committees. In Israel we carried out two studies: an interview survey and an in-depth survey of objections.
We found that the three countries differ on the three levels. That is, none of the countries had “good” or “bad” provisions on all levels. Rather, in each of the countries we found some provisions that were “better” and some that were “less good.” In this sense, the comparative study undermined some myths, because we could not conclude, for example, that the Netherlands is the best and that Israel is the worst.