3.1 Planning Institution(s), their scope and binding character of planning
3.1.1 At national levelAt national level the Ministry of Environment is the most effectively working institution in the sphere of territorial planning. It organizes the preparation of the master plan of the State territory; its powers lie within the sphere of environmental protection. It can therefore prepare national plans of environmental protection and landscape. There is the Department of Protected Territories which is Under the Ministry of Environment. The formation of national policy of territories under protection, territorial planning of protected environment and its supervision are within the competence of the said Department.
A national policy of communications, national programmes of communications development, as well as preparation of the corresponding special plans are within the competence of the Ministry of Communications and Transport.
The sphere of protection of cultural heritage is subordinate to the Department of Cultural Heritage Protection under the Ministry of Culture. The Department of Cultural Heritage Protection furnish conditions in preparing master plans of the State and county territories, organizes preparation of special plans of the protected territories of cultural heritage.
These are the key ministries regulating territorial planning. Other ministries (or their subdivisions) (depending on the character of a plan) furnish conditions for the planning documents at national level. In many cases - the Ministry of Health, sometimes - the Ministry of Economics (e.g. for special plans of infrastructure at national level) Ministry of Communication, Defence Ministry et cetera.
The Government approves a considerable amount of the planning documents which occupy the whole State territory or smaller areas of great importance for the State. For example, the Government approves a list of protected territories , master plans of the county territories, sanctuaries of regional parks and/or boundaries of their zones, plans (planning schemes) and projects pertaining to the management of protected territories. The Government can delegate the afore-said master plans, sanctuaries, plans and projects for other institutions to approve.
The Seimas approves the planning documents of the greatest national significance. The Seimas approves the General Plan of the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania, plans of the State reserves and national parks as well as the boundaries of their zones, and other documents .
Description of the obligatory power of plans being approved by the Government and the Seimas is presented above - §2.3.
3.1.2 At regional level
One should ascribe territorial subdivisions (i.e. the county governors' administrations as well as territorial subdivisions of separate ministries) of the Government to the institutions regulating territorial planning at regional level. The Ministry of Environment (territorial subdivisions of environmental protection) and Department of Cultural Heritage Protection under the Ministry of Culture (territorial subdivisions of cultural heritage protection) have these subdivisions. Each of them resides in county centres.
The county governor organizes the general and special planning of the county territory.
Territorial subdivisions of natural and cultural heritage protection, health care furnish conditions for master and some special plans of counties, organize (in those cases when the offices of corresponding ministries charge territorial subdivisions with furnishing the said conditions) preparation of some special plans of its own sphere. Territorial subdivisions of natural and cultural heritage protection do not approve plans, but co-ordinate them.
3.1.3 At sub-regional / local level
Municipal administration directors shall be the organisers of general, and in some cases, detailed and special planning at the level of local self-government .
The competence of the director of municipal administration shall consist of organisation of the detail planning of:
- free state land stock;
- land plots which are transferred to the municipality by the right of trust;
- land plots which are subject to the municipality by the right of ownership;
- organisation of preparation of detailed plans of parts of the territories of town and townships and village territories indicated in master plans of the municipality territory and its parts .
The Law on Territorial Planning does not indicate that preparation of the special planning documents is within the competence of the municipal administration's director. Some post-statutory acts, e.g. the Regulations of preparation of special plans of communications and transport, the Regulations of preparation of special plans of infrastructure development (heating, electricity, gas and oil supply networks), the Regulations of preparation of special plans of landscape management do not point out the said. A contradictory position is in the sphere of heritage protection planning: organisation of preparation of any special plans of heritage protection is not within the competence of the director of municipality administration (although the Law on Protected Territories allows the municipal councils to announce objects of municipal heritage, saying that institutions of municipalities approve the documents of the municipal protected territories under planning ).
Organisation of preparation of special plans relating to distribution of skyscrapers is almost within the whole competence of the director of municipal administration . It has to establish the objectives, tasks of that planning and finance preparation of such plans .
The municipal council approves a bulk of planning documents which preparation is organized by the director of municipality administration. It can delegate some plans to the municipal administrator to implement them (e.g. the Regulations for the drafting of detailed plans, the Regulations of special plans of landscape and distribution of skyscrapers refer to it).
3.1.4 Further / intermediate level(s)
There exists a binary system of dividing territorial planning into levels in Lithuania (Part II, § 1.2). According to the first principle of division, i.e. institutions approving plans, the municipality level is the lowest; according to the second principle, i.e. the size of an occupying territory by the plan - the locality level, i.e. the planning of separate land plots and their groups, follows after the district level (which includes preparation of plans occupying the territory of a municipality)
The organisers of the locality level planning can be different. In some cases (e.g. national defence, territories of cultural heritage) - the Government or its institutions, in other cases it can be a municipality. In the event of detailed and special planning, the planners of the said level can be several legal and natural persons.
This is because of the fact that local authorities (in the manner prescribed by the Government) can transfer the rights and duties of the organizer of detailed planning to the land owner or user (the municipal council or the director of the municipal administration subordinate to it approves such detailed plans).
This is due to the fact that according to the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Territorial Planning, the planners of special plans can be legal and natural persons .