EDITION: February - April 2017

Building regulations in Ibiza

By Armin Gutschick y Anja Sämann-Gutschick
The Ibiza Island Council approved a set of amendments to the Territorial Plan for Ibiza (PTI) at the end of 2016 which will mean tougher building regulations. The beginning of 2016 had already seen the implementation of Decree Law 1/2016 which changed the Ibiza Land Law, amongst other things, and also suspends the implementation of existing rules. The Government, based in Palma, established this measure in order to avoid irreversible damages. The suspension of certain regulations is provisional and will only stand until the corresponding final regulation has been approved. For this the government has set a deadline for the end of 2017.

The Decree Law of January 2016 also saw the suspension of the amnesty on illegal builds which had been in place since March 2014, allowing illegally built structures to be legalized by the payment of a fine. The island’s Town Councils had since then only been processing building permit applications for which all the relevant documents had been submitted. The same did not apply for building projects in natural areas of special interest (ANEI), for which the decree offered a retroactive effect of three months. This means that building project applications for these areas would only be accepted if they had been presented to the council three months prior to the Decree Law coming into effect.

So, from the beginning of 2016, the previous regulations are once again applied in Ibiza: it will not be possible to take action against illegal builds after a certain amount of time has passed, although this will not mean that they will become legalized. If, however, the building was constructed in a protected area and was built after February 1991, the authorities can intervene at any time and order its demolition.

As detailed above, on November 30, 2016, the Ibiza Island Council approved changes to the PTI to limit building on rural land. The aim of the regulations, which were printed in the “BOIB” (Official Gazette of the Balearic Islands) on December 1, 2016, is to put an end to property speculation on rural land and curb the extensive urbanization of protected areas.

The following PTI changes are noteworthy:
• The built surface area for single family dwellings on rural land has been reduced to 320 m2, including annexes. Only one swimming pool per house will be allowed that cannot exceeding 35 m2.

• Permission will not be granted to build new properties on land which is part of the “Red Natura 2000” or classified as Protected Rural Land of Scenic Interest (SRP-ARIP), a Fire Risk Prevention Areas (SRP-APR) or Common Forested Rural Land (SRC-F).

• After November 1st, 2016 it will not be possible to develop segregated plots of land unless these were handed down from parent to child or inherited from a relative. This is intended to avoid excessive development and fragmenting of rural land.

• Fences will have to be in keeping with their natural surroundings and cannot exceed one meter in height.

• All new building projects on rural land will have to include a rain water storage tank with a capacity of at least 15,000 liters.

It is not clear whether the changes made to the PTI will also apply to projects which have already been submitted. According to transitional provisions, the changes won’t apply to building permit applications with the complete documentation. Does this mean however that it is the City Council who decides if the complete documentation has been presented before it files the construction work dossier to the Ibiza Island Council? Or is it actually the Ibiza Island Council who decides this before it issues a favourable report? What is certain is that, in many cases, there will be a large degree of uncertainty about how the regulations will be applied and that this can only be clarified by following the legal framework.