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Resolution on New Building Land to Drive Frankfurt’s Urban Development

Resolution on New Building Land to Drive Frankfurt’s Urban Development, © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept

On May 7, 2020 the members of the City Council passed the Resolution on New Building Land to Drive Frankfurt’s Urban Development. In this way, the City of Frankfurt is creating a transparent framework for the development of future building land for housing.
The Resolution on New Building Land means that in Frankfurt in the future there will for the first time be uniform and transparent conditions for developing new building land for housing. The conditions include a mandatory quota of 30 percent of land for subsidized housing. Half of the latter will be realized as Subsidy Scheme 1 projects, the other half will be part of the Subsidy Scheme 2 plan. Added to which, of the total land developed, 15 percent will come under the concept procedure for communal and cooperative housing projects. Moreover, there will be a quota of 15 percent assigned to freely financed housing construction and a share of 10 percent allocated for owner-occupied apartments at reduced prices. To date, the only quota set in Frankfurt for subsidized housing construction was the 30 percent. It is hoped that the definition of the additional quotas will lead to the construction of more housing at steady prices, more rental apartments, and more affordable owner-occupied apartments.

A crucial new aspect of the new resolution is that land owners will sign a so-called “Basic Approval” document with the City of Frankfurt at the very beginning of the process, in other words at a very early stage and prior to the decision on land use being taken. In the document, the land owners agree to conclude an urban development contract and recognize the principles of the Resolution on New Building Land.

The Resolution on New Building Land also includes as a transparent mandatory stipulation that in future up to two thirds of the increase in the value of the land as a result of the planned project be agreed as a contribution to the common good. In this way, the project developers make a contribution to the requisite basic infrastructure for real estate, for district-related social infrastructure such as childcare centers, primary schools or youth clubs, to climate protection, climate adjustment measures, and the creation of public greened spaces, to ensuring development is balanced under nature conservation laws, and to assume the planning costs. In this way, the new resolution makes certain that an appropriate acreage of greened spaces is provided. One third of the increase in the land value as a result of the planning accrues to the party undertaking the planned project.

The resolution also mandates the use of one and the same method in all cases when assessing the increase in the value of land as a result of the planned project and thus the framework for a participation in costs. As a result, when assessing the final value of the land post-development, in future the calculation will rely not only just on the owner-occupied apartments built. Instead, the impact of the contractual obligation to provide subsidized housing and the commitment to the concept procedure for communal and cooperative housing projects will be factored into the equation.

These rules shall, if possible, also apply to building plans that have already been granted planning permission under the land use plan and have not yet been presented for public inspection. Moreover, they envisage the City Executive endeavoring to ensure that during the construction consultancy phase as of a threshold of 30 housing units and/or 3,000 square meters of gross surface area for housing, the municipal housing construction subsidy programs be brought into play.

Finally, the intention is to actively support socially-equitable and climate-aligned urban development by encouraging the timely purchase of private land. In this context, in future urban land will primarily be used to meet the statutory task of providing social infrastructure.

The overall plan is to evaluate the resolution at regular intervals and move it forwards wherever necessary to guarantee a perfect fit.

Since the resolution was passed, guiding principles have been developed for the conclusion of so-called Urban Planning Agreement (Guidelines I – Urban Planning Agreement with the City of Frankfurt ).


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