Consultation and adoption of local area plans.
20.—(1) A planning authority shall take whatever steps it considers necessary to consult the public before preparing, amending or revoking a local area plan including consultations with any local residents, public sector agencies, non-governmental agencies, local community groups and commercial and business interests within the area.
(2) A planning authority shall consult údarás na Gaeltachta before making, amending or revoking a local area plan under subsection (3) for an area which includes a Gaeltacht area.
(3) (a) The planning authority shall, as soon as may be after consideration of any matters arising out of consultations under subsections (1) or (2) but before making, amending or revoking a local area plan—
(i) send notice of the proposal to make, amend or revoke a local area plan to the Board and to the prescribed authorities (and, where applicable, it shall enclose a copy of the proposed plan or amended plan),
(ii) publish a notice of the proposal in one or more newspapers circulating in its area.
(b) A notice under paragraph (a) shall state—
(i) that the planning authority proposes to make, amend or revoke a local area plan,
(ii) that a copy of the proposal to make, amend or revoke the local area plan and (where appropriate) the proposed local area plan, or proposed amended plan, may be inspected at such place or places as are specified in the notice during such period as may be so stated (being a period of not less than 6 weeks),
(iii) that submissions or observations in respect of the proposal made to the planning authority during such period will be taken into consideration in deciding upon the proposal.
(c) (i) Not later than 12 weeks after giving notice under paragraph (b), the manager of a planning authority shall prepare a report on any submissions or observations received pursuant to a notice under that paragraph and shall submit the report to the members of the planning authority for their consideration.
(ii) A report under subparagraph (i) shall—
(I) list the persons who made submissions or observations,
(II) summarise the issues raised by the persons in the submissions or observations,
(III) contain the opinion of the manager in relation to the issues raised, and his or her recommendations in relation to the proposed local area plan, amendment to a local area plan or revocation of a local area plan, as the case may be, taking account of the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, the statutory obligations of any local authority in the area and any relevant policies or objectives for the time being of the Government or of any Minister of the Government.
(d) (i) The members of a planning authority shall consider the proposal to make, amend or revoke a local area plan and the report of the manager under paragraph (c).
(ii) Following consideration of the manager's report under subparagraph (i), the local area plan shall be deemed to be made, amended or revoked, as appropriate, in accordance with the recommendations of the manager as set out in his or her report, 6 weeks after the furnishing of the report to all the members of the authority, unless the planning authority, by resolution, varies or modifies the proposal, otherwise than as recommended in the manager's report, or where appropriate decides not to make, amend or revoke, as the case may be, the plan.
(4) The Minister may make regulations or issue guidelines in relation to the preparation of local area plans.
(5) A planning authority shall send a copy of any local area plan made under this Chapter to any bodies consulted under subsection (1), (2) or (3), the Board and, where appropriate, any prescribed body.