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Kaiserlei panorama - Urban developments in the Greater Frankfurt Region

What Is a Land-Use Plan?

The land-use plan is the preparatory building plan in every German municipality and is used by them as a planning instrument. The land-use plan defines urban planning goals as well as development goals and, according to the German Building Code (BauGB), represents “the type of land use resulting from the intended urban development according to the foreseeable needs of the community”. The land use plan is for a period of approximately 10 to 15 years ago, it was determined which areas of the respective city are used for a specific purpose. The zoning plan is called “Flächennutzungsplan” in German (short form: “FNP”).

According to the Federal Building Code, the land use plan primarily defines the “areas intended for development according to the general type of constructional use (construction areas), according to the particular type of constructional use (construction areas) and according to the general extent of constructional use”.

There are some differences between the general land-use plan and the more detailed local development plan:

  • The land-use plan applies to the entire city. In contrast, the development plan only applies to a certain part of the city.
  • The land-use plan contains significantly less specific information than the development plan.
  • Compared to the development plan, the land-use plan is not binding, but only a preparatory measure. The land-use plan is not legally effective for citizens. However, as an internal administrative plan, the land-use plan is effective for the authority.
Frankfurt Regional Land Use Plan - FrankfurtRheinMain urban planning

Regional Land Use Plan

The preparation of a regional (and thus cross-city) land-use plan is carried out to save a planning level, since the federal states have the opportunity to combine the regional planning and the preparatory land-use planning.

The City of Frankfurt relinquished its own responsibility for drawing up the land use plan around ten years ago, as did 74 other municipalities in the Frankfurt area. The resulting carrier, the FrankfurtRheinMain regional association, is responsible for drawing up and amending the zoning plan for the entire association area. The basis for this is the “Law on the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region” (Metropolitan Law – in German), which is based on the state law of Hesse. The Metropolitan Act applies until: December 31, 2029, if it is not extended beforehand.

The regional land use plan forms together with the regional plan South Hesse a joint plan (RPS/RegFNP). The plan is decided by the Association Chamber and the Regional Assembly of South Hesse. The RegFNP is thus the statutory planning instrument of the Regional Authority FrankfurtRheinMain and enables problems to be viewed in a larger spatial context. He controls the settlement development, the transport infrastructure and the securing of the open space for 75 municipalities in the conurbation Frankfurt/Rhein-Main. The regional land use plan can be viewed on the website of the Regional Authority (in German).

In plain language, this means that the 75 municipalities usually jointly decide on planned building areas that are of regional importance and have to reach consensus on this. In addition, the equipment of the defined area, such as sports fields or churches, is mapped in a zoning plan.

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