What is the procedure to change the use of agricultural land?
Based on art. 2 from the Agricultural Land Preservation Act /ALPA/ the change of use of agricultural land is allowed as an exception when there is a proven need and when the terms and conditions in the Agricultural Land Preservation Act and the related regulatory acts are followed. Agricultural land is categorized into 10 bond categories based on the productivity of the soil, climate, terrain, technological qualities of the land, the appropriateness for production of different vegetables and the imposed restrictions for use of the land under the terms and condition of the Decree for categorization.
The empowered bodies which are responsible to change the use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes according to art. 17 from the Agricultural Land Preservation Act are:
1. The Commissions at the Regional directorate "Agriculture and forestry" when the territory of the land is up to 50 decares and the land is located in the certain region.
2. The Commission for agricultural land formed at the Ministry of agriculture and forestry for the rest of the cases.
There are several obligatory preconditions for completion of change of use of agricultural land following the procedure and they are summarized below:
1. Act for categorization of agricultural land when changing its use issued according the procedure of the Decree for categorization of agricultural land when changing its use;
2. Approved building ground with Detailed layout plan project and positive Evaluation of the affect on the environment under the procedure for "Determining and approving building ground, terrains for lineal objects and including the land in the boundaries of the settlements and the forestry fund".
3. Approved detailed layout plan for the terrain (art. 40, par. 1 from the Regulations for application of the Agricultural Land Preservation Act);
4. Right for ownership over the land. Only physical or judicial bodies who are owners of the land have the right to change its use. When the land is owned by a person or a company and there is a building ground approved for construction of an object not related to the purpose of the usage of the land, the person or the company building the object or the investor may request change of use of the land only after he/she acquires the right for construction or ownership over the land. (art. 40, par. 3 from the Regulations for application of the Agricultural Land Preservation Act). When the land is included in the government or the municipal landed fund but it is not used for government or municipal purposes and there is a building ground or a terrain for building an object by a person or a company approved for it, the investor is obliged to obtain the right for ownership of the land or the right for construction before changing its use (art. 40, par. 4 from the Agricultural Land Preservation Act);
5. The change of use of agricultural land has to be only for own non-agricultural purposes.
When changing the use of agricultural land the owner pays government fee based on the Tariff for the taxes for change of use of agricultural land approved by the Ministry counsel.
Seven days after the decision for change of use of agricultural land comes into effect, the responsible commission sends a copy of it to the Cadastre where the property is located to mark the changes in their registry. When there are newly formed plots of land according to art. 24, par. 3 from the Law for cadastre and the property registry, the Cadastre agency gives identification number for the newly formed properties.
After the plot is listed in the Cadastre, if the owner requests, the plot's borderlines are marked based on the information at the Cadastre agency (art. 26 from the Agricultural Land Preservation Act).