It’s no secret that when it comes to land relations, regardless of whether we are talking about Germany, France, China or Australia, people may almost immediately begin to argue about ownership rights. This occurs not only between lawyers, but also with ordinary people, because if you think about it, all of us are somehow connected with land, every time we come into contact with the it, which means that each of us sooner or later may come to the point where we have a desire or need to establish our rights over a particular piece of land.
Many of us may be familiar with the rules provided for the transfer of rights from one person to another, but few of us know that the land plots in different places may differ from each other, for example, for its usage purpose. In this regard, it will be particularly interesting to discuss one case recently reviewed by the Judicial Board on Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation concerning the exclusion of the Park “Druzhba” (“Friendship”) from the zone of green spaces and its transfer to a zone of social and business development. In more detail, the officials of the city of Elista decided to make changes to the rules of land use and development of the city of Elista, which was procedurally adopted in full accordance with the law.
However, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Kalmykia Republic decided to challenge this decision, firstly at the Supreme court of Kalmykia, and then subsequently at the Supreme court of the Russian Federation which supported his position. As explained by the Supreme court of the Russian Federation, territorial zoning refers to the legislation on urban development, which consists of the town-planning code and other federal laws and regulations of the country and its subjects. If the municipal legal act on the activity is adopted (which can also refer to rules of land use and development), it shouldn’t contradict the town-planning code.
Meanwhile, the named code states that during the preparation of the rules of land use and development the boundaries of territorial zones are established in accordance with the zones that are already described in the relevant general plan. Since the General Plan of the City of Elista provides that the territory of the Park is located in the green zone, its transfer to another zone is unacceptable only if the amendments are adopted to the General Plan itself, which in practice is rather difficult to implement because of the need to take into account public opinion.
Thus, the Supreme court upheld the rights of the citizens of Elista to enjoy the “green” zone in the city and at the same time stressed the importance of urban planning legislation, in particular the importance of land zoning.