The Marbella town council has decided to start issuing licences of first occupation (licencias de primera ocupación) before the town’s new urban master plan gets final approval. First occupancy licences will be granted to owners of Marbella properties that are expected to be legalised by the new urban plan (Plan General de Ordenación Urbana).
The decision to grant first occupation licences before the urban master plan becomes law was a contentious one that was passed without cross-party support. Marbella’s Mayor, Ángeles Muñoz, of the right-of-centre Popular Party, won the vote thanks to her majority on the town council. The opposition PSOE socialist party abstained in the vote, and the United Left’s town councillor voted against it.
Mayor Muñoz justified the decision saying that it will “generate confidence and stimulate the economy, as well as sending a message of absolute peace of mind to owner of homes that do not have a licence of first occupation.”
The Socialists abstained on the grounds that the move lacks adequate legal guarantees, given that the urban plan has not been finally approved.
The first draft of the new urban plan was approved in July 2007, and the final draft is up for provisional approval in September, with final approval expected to follow in the Spring of 2009. Given recent changes to the draft, largely concerning the compensation mechanisms for planning infractions, the plan will have to be subjected to another round of public consultation after provisional approval in September. With that in mind, the Socialists may be right about the town hall jumping the gun.