|Ph.D Student||Erlich-Roginsky Hava|
|Subject||Agreements between Local Government and Private Developers:|
A Cross National Perspective
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Rachelle Alterman|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
This research presents a survey of the contemporary implementation of agreements in three countries: England, New South Wales in Australia, and Israel.
"Agreements," or "Development Agreements," are any settlement made between a private body and a public institution in which the private entity must be granted legal permission to develop land and build. The literature on the subject points to the fact that most agreements are signed on a local level as a tool for transferring public services, which hitherto were under the responsibility of local governments, to private entities.
This research draws on theoretical literature and criteria of privatization to evaluate the different legal arrangements for negotiating and signing planning agreements.
The research method was designed to compare the respective structure of planning laws and legal systems in the three abovementioned countries. In the case of England, since previous research about agreements has been conducted, it was possible to compare the current results with past information. We also searched for policy papers related to agreements in order to assess the policy tools used by local municipalities, and the ways whereby those tools had aided municipalities to address criticism about agreements. Most of the information for the empirical part of the research was found online, in local government sites.
The main findings of this research are that local municipalities have signed agreements with private entrepreneurs, whilst also complying with the main regulatory procedures for obtaining planning authorization. In England we have found a steady rise in the percentage of planning authorizations connected to agreements? from 1-3% to almost 5% of the requests. In NSW, the use of Voluntary Planning Agreements has been sanctioned by a specific legal basis since 2005. We found about sixty agreements on different local websites. In Israel, there is no definitive legal basis. In 2011 the official position of the government was against agreements, as set in an important ruling of the Israel Supreme Court, that announced the end of planning agreements, for the time being yet has driven them “underground,” rather than render them more transparent.
The conclusion of the research is that planning agreements constitute a tool in the "toolbox" of local municipalities, in their struggle to allocate resources for public services. Following the English and NSW, we recommend that the Israeli government adopt a system that would allow for planning agreements on a local level, concomitantly with the establishment of a monitoring system.