Task force set up to solve second home issues

The government has set up a working group to tackle questions on how to follow-up the results of a nationwide vote backing a limit on new second homes.

This content was published on March 15, 2012 - 17:55

On Sunday 50.4 per cent of Swiss voters agreed that “in every commune where at least 20 per cent of homes are second homes, no more second homes may be built”. But it’s unclear how this will work in practice.

Environment Minister Doris Leuthard has created a working group to clarify certain issues, saying it was important to enact legislation quickly.

The law on land use will have to be revised but it raises certain judicial questions. The working group will primarily look at how the principle of second homes can be interpreted in conformity with the constitution and how to implement the new constitutional clause.

The group will report to the Federal Spatial Development Office which has come up with guiding principles for cantons and communes.

Building permits approved before March 11, 2012 remain valid but the new law revisions will apply to building applications lodged after that date. If planning authorities are in doubt about the regulations, approval procedures should be suspended until the revised laws enter into force.

The new regulations are expected to come into effect by the summer. The government stressed that many questions would only be answered once the law becomes available.

The working group will include representatives of the initiative committee and cantonal committees on land use and environmental protection, as well as legal experts and others from tourism, housing and economics. They are first due to meet in early April. 

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