Figures presented to city councillors last night show that 34 sites are poised to be added to the city’s derelict sites register — almost double the number of sites which were added to the list last year.
If all the targeted sites proceed through the system, they will be added to the 56 sites which were on the register at the end of last month, and will bring to almost 100 the number of derelict sites in the city.
However, officials expect that a handful of the 34 sites may not be added to the list after 11 sites targeted last year had dereliction resolved.
The council has also levied €130,412 in derelict sites fees on the owners of the sites already on the register but has only received €43,000 of the amount owed.
Cllr Thomas Gould (SF) called on the council to adopt a get-tough approach in relation to the collection of the money owed.
Figures also showed that 111 written planning complaints were investigated last year — up from 92 the previous year.
A total of 43 cases were resolved through negotiation, with 87 warning letters served and 13 enforcement notices served — more than double the number served in 2015.
However, while councillors welcomed the increased efforts to tackle dereliction, they called for a major examination of the council’s policy on planning retention amid claims that it is seen as a ‘soft-touch’.
It follows two cases where private residents — one in Blackrock and one on the northside — have had to fork out €600 and €800 respectively to take appeals to An Bord Pleanála following city council decisions to grant retention in two separate cases.
Cllr Chris O’Leary said a constituent’s quality of life has been severely affected following the construction of an extension to a neighbouring house which was not built in accordance with planning permission.
However, the owners of the property applied for and were granted planning retention for the extension.
Mr O’Leary said it is not fair that the person affected by the development was now facing a €800 bill to appeal the decision.
Cllr Ken O’Flynn (FF) said the affected person had been bullied by the neighbours and the builders.
Party colleague Cllr Terry Shannon said it is not fair that someone affected by a development should face such costs arising from someone who acted outside the planning process.
Cllr Tim Brosnan (FF) described the situation as a “fundamental injustice”.
SF Cllr Shane O’Shea called for the various policy issues to be discussed at the council’s corporate policy level, and for any loopholes to be brought to the attention of Government.
Senior planner Ann Bogan said about 30% of retention cases relate to the sale of properties where relatively small irregularities arise. But she said while planners assess applications for retention purely on planning merits, and that their reports are available for scrutiny, she said those seeking retention must pay three times the fee imposed on those seeking planning permission.