On 11 March 2020, the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw issued a judgment which allowed the complaint filed by the Law Firm on behalf of D.J.T. against the decision of the General Director of Environmental Protection in Warsaw (GDOŚ) of 31 July 2019, which upheld the decision of the Regional Director of Environmental Protection in Poznań (RDOŚ) of 26 April 2019, which in turn repealed the final decision of RDOŚ of 6 May 2015, specifying the conditions for carrying out the works and objection to the execution of a project consisting in the construction of a multi-family building and a utility building together with elements of technical infrastructure on plots located in Stobnica, Oborniki commune.
The case of building the Castle in Stobnica has aroused public interest for many months. The decision of RDOŚ of 26 April 2019, issued as part of the administrative proceedings resumed ex officio, was a decision undermining one of the legal bases for the construction project – and one that had been issued over 4 years earlier. The proceedings were conducted in the extraordinary mode.
The appellant argued, first of all, that RDOŚ was no longer competent to object to the implementation of the project, on account of the expiry of the 30-day deadline for its lodging resulting from the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act. Moreover, the argumentation focused on indicating that there are no grounds for claiming that it is possible to interfere with the decision issued in 2015 in connection with allegedly new evidence and facts which were not known to the Authority at the time of issuing the original decision. The appellant strongly denied that it was carrying out an investment other than the one covered by the 2015 RDOŚ decision and that it misled the Authority as to the facts of the case.
While sharing the arguments of the complaint, the VAC in Warsaw indicated, that there were no grounds for reopening the proceedings referred to in Article 145(1)(5) of the Code of Administrative Procedure. What is important, the Court found that the defect in the resumed proceedings does not only concern the proceedings of GDOŚ, but also RDOŚ. Hence the decision on the annulment of both decisions. It should be emphasized that the provisions of the Act on Administrative Court Proceedings did not allow the Court to issue a substantive decision for the authorities – hence the case must return to the body of first instance.
The investor was represented in the dispute with public administration bodies and at the stage of court-administrative proceedings by attorney-at-law Krzysztof Topolewski, attorney-at-law Aleksandra Urbanowska-Bohun and attorney-at-law Aneta Fornalik.
The ruling of the Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw is not final and is subject to appeal. Currently, the parties are waiting for the written justification of the judgment to be drawn up and delivered.
It should be emphasized that the judgment under discussion confirms the current legality of the construction – contrary to unreliable media reports about the construction of Stobnica Castle without the legally required permits.
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