1.8 Current and upcoming changes and challengesThe 1995 Law on Territorial Planning was amended several times. The operative planning, i.e. a possibility to change master plans promptly and simply throughout the life, was eliminated 10 years ago. A double system of dividing plans into levels appeared. The role of special plans was consolidated: as all the plans of the same or lower level had to conform to the master plans in the former edits, now master or special plans are of equal importance - the plan drafted a foretime has to conform to a new one (it will be discussed in greater detail there under). The requirement has been set to co-ordinate territorial planning with strategic one. The requirement for considering and regulating architectural and aesthetic questions has been reinforced. The system of planning has not virtually been changed (however, the question "Are these changes considerable?" would be answered differently by various Lithuanian experts.
A number of documents regulating the planning increased: lots of rules regulating the preparation of various plans in detail appeared. All these changes were the result of Lithuanian specialists' initiatives.
Probably a most vivid contribution of the EU provisions to the planning system in Lithuania deals with consolidation of the assessment of the consequences of the solutions of plans in the Law on Territorial Planning and appearance of a pack of the regulations detailing this provision.
The system of territorial planning is in process of evolution. At present, the project of a new edit of the regulations of master plans is being prepared.
The question "What are the problems of territorial planning of Lithuania nowadays" would be answered differently by various Lithuanian experts. Having analyzed it, the problems of the system of territorial planning in Lithuania seemed to be divided into two groups: 1) the problems of system transparency and logical coherence, and 2) the problems relating to the content.
1. The following are the problems of system transparency and logical coherence:
1.1. Formulation of the objectives of planning documents. The objectives of territorial planning are stated in the rights of Lithuanian planning in general. The objectives of detailed and general plans of the State, municipalities and towns are not indicated. One has to speculate why we need the levels of planning?2. Problems related to the content of planning system.
1.2. It is rather difficult to comment on the relationship between the objectives, tasks and their means of solution in the culture of Lithuanian planning system (both in the law on planning and in planning practice).
Here are several factors illustrating the said.
The law on Lithuanian planning provides the objectives of territorial planning, but it does not explain why they are as such and how they can be realized by territorial planning means? The Regulations for the preparation of county plans indicate the objectives of the county planning, but refer to them as tasks. It is apparent that there stands the provision behind it that objectives and tasks do not actually differ from each other. It is not often explained in master plans how the solutions of the plan are related to the set objectives (moreover, some planners assume that it is useless to do it: specialists can easily interpret plans, while it is impossible for outsiders to explain them in principle). It is possible that the absence of coherence of actions determines a desirable, yet general noncommittal formulation of objectives in many parts of planning culture. Such a strategy does not uncover the essence of the existence of planning; it does not disclose why concrete planning documents are necessary. It motivates the idea of generalization, i.e. the less regulations (planning), the better for all. As it is "somehow" wrong not to plan, pseudo planning is becoming acceptable - the drawing of coloured maps hardly influence the life.
1.3. Possibilities of the interpretation of different character on interrelationship of plans in the light of various laws (in greater detail - there under, Chapter II, §. 4)
1.4. Discourse of the documents regulating territorial planning. Specific terms are sometimes used in those documents, but they denote something different in the common language. They can be rare or not present in the common language at all. They are not defined. Specialists interpret them differently, while such a system of language of documents make the idea of planning almost incomprehensible for the public.
2.1. There are separate planning jurisdictions duplicating each other in several parts: territorial planning, regional planning and strategic planning. There exists likelihood that their co-operation and convergence into the overall planning can be useful for the State.
2.2. One of the key problems of Lithuanian planning culture is that plans sometimes influence signally the distribution of welfare (in general sense) between the society on the one hand and separate individuals on the other; they sometimes produce a great influence on the interpersonal position of individuals: for some individuals the solutions of the plan create favourable conditions for living, business or may increase the value of their property considerably, for other - to the contrary. It has not been seen in the present practice of planning. Although feuding sometimes flares up because of the plans or antagonistic sides sometimes make a deal, an elemental struggle goes on in a peculiar manner. In those cases when someone's interests are violated, one lacks the principles of clarity and accountability.