In Moscow secretly suspended public hearings on new construction sites

The holiday period

Working in Moscow, developers have received a secret order not to organize public hearings on upcoming development of urban areas prior to the elections of the state Duma on September 18, told RBC representatives of four of the Moscow developer companies. About the decree also knows the representative of the large construction companies operating in the market of Moscow region.

The prefectures of administrative districts since the beginning of summer is almost any alert about ongoing or upcoming public hearings. RBC found on the websites of the prefectures, only three alerts on the hearing from the beginning of June, they all took place in the North-Eastern administrative district. In the summer of 2015 a public hearing was conducted much more often: on the websites of the prefectures, there are 68 reports of such events. Phones ten Moscow prefectures on Wednesday did not respond.

For the first half of 2016 held hearings about 130 urban development projects in 160 districts of the capital, operated by the Committee for architecture and urban planning of Moscow (Moskomarkhitektura), have informed RBC in the press service of the Ministry. The latest official reports of the hearings are by may and early June, found RBC. The exact list of projects that must undergo hearings in the next three months, there is added to the architectural Committee.

In a press-service of the Complex urban policy and construction of Moscow city (construction sector) did not answer the questions RBC about the reasons for the suspension of the hearings, saying only that “the competent authority for a public hearing are the district Commission of urban planning, land use and development in the prefectures of administrative districts of Moscow.

For public hearings should collect a quorum of the locals that maybe difficult to do during the holiday season, says a representative of Moskomstroyinvest (Committee for the implementation of investment projects in construction and supervision of participatory construction). “Generally public hearings are set only well-designed developer projects that have passed the SLC and have no comments urban structures”, — said the interlocutor of RBC. However, he denies the existence of secret orders authorities temporarily hold a hearing.

What is a public hearing

Procedure in the city of Moscow public hearings established by the law of Moscow city of 25.06.2008 №28 “the Urban development code of the city of Moscow”. However, in its determination dated 15.07.2010 No. 931, the constitutional court stated that public hearings are not a form of exercise of power of the population, so a non-binding authorities. Their goal is to identify the collective opinion or expressed disagreement with collective rather than individual in nature. The ultimate goal of this discussion is to develop recommendations on significant public questions or receive public evaluation of the legal act.

The controversial procedure

Moscow municipal deputies confirm that the process of public hearings have been frozen. Talk about the suspension of the hearings began in the spring, shortly before the primaries of “United Russia”, through which passed candidates of the state Duma from the party, told RBC municipal Deputy district Ramenki Marina Ivleva. For several weeks after the primaries, which took place on 22 may, the district held only one public hearing on the construction of the transport interchange hub in the heart of the Minsk street, says Ivlev. The hearings started on may 27, reads the alert on the website of the Council of Ramenki, meeting of inhabitants of the area took place on 7 June. But these hearings is the exception to the rule, sure Ivlev. About the recommendation not to hold a hearing, the Deputy, in her words, heard in the municipality of Ramenki.

Municipal Deputy of Lefortovo district Alexander Andreev suggests that hearings might be suspended because of the “scandal of the procedure.” “By itself, the procedure of public hearings involves the speech of citizens, and are, as a rule, citizens are dissatisfied with either any particular project or urban policy the city as a whole. Before the elections to the hearings as a source for criticism of the authorities are sure to come to opposition candidates, which can inflate the scandal. Of course, these hearings are not necessary”, — says Andreev.

RBC surveyed developers said that their projects will not suffer from possible freezing of public hearings. One of the interviewees noted that the practice of freezing the process of conducting public hearings in the pre-election period is common in Moscow.

Decisions made during public hearings are Advisory in nature, however, to start a construction project without them. They go subsequently the basis for urban planning and permits, explains the commercial Director FGC “Leader” Gregory Altuhov. “The possible reduction in the number of public hearings in recent times may be due to a decline in investment activity of developers, he suggests. Theoretically pause of several months is unlikely to lead to a slowdown in construction. However, this can lead to unforeseen costs for developers, who will have to pay additional interest on Bank loans.”

According to senior analyst of FG BKS Marat Ibragimov, new development projects are credited at the average rate from 14% to 19% per annum.

For the first half of 2016, Mosgosstroynadzor has issued 745 construction permits, from information published on its website. The total area of new objects specified in the documents, would amount to 7.54 million sqm higher than in the same period last year. Then it issued 688 permits by almost 4 million sq. m.