Nuns claim council targeted them in restrictive zoning
THE Sisters of Charity have claimed zoning measures under a new development plan for Dublin are "targeted" at lands owned by religious institutions.
They claim that the measures in the Dublin City Development Plan are effectively diverting private property into public ownership and "sterilising" their lands without compensation.
The religious order has brought an action against Dublin City Council, claiming that zoning restrictions in the plan will have implications for their property rights and will affect their ability to sell off land to fund their activities.
The sisters claim the council has not given any rational reason why a Z15 zoning designation -- which rules out land for future uses such as housing -- was imposed on 108 acres of land owned by the order and not on certain other lands.
They say this has adverse implications for their ability to sell the land.
The sisters' action opened at the Commercial Court yesterday before Mr Justice Frank Clarke.
Brian Murray SC, for the Sisters of Charity, said his clients want to know why the council believed that the lands zoned Z15 should be zoned in a restrictive way compared with other open space lands.
The Z15 zoned lands include open space lands adjoining the sisters' convent and schools in Sandymount. All of the order's 108 acres of lands in 18 separate parcels have been zoned Z15 in the new plan.
Mr Murray said the council contended the zoning was in the common good and for the benefit of the community and neighbourhood.
However, the barrister argued that this did not meet the requirement to provide "clear rational evidence" before subjecting lands to such a restrictive zoning.
In opposing the proceedings, the council claimed the Z15 zoning promotes the continuing use of lands as a long term resource for the city of Dublin and this is essential to creating sustainable neighbourhoods.
The council rejected the claim the zoning has a significant impact on the sisters' property interests or is markedly more restrictive than almost any other zoning imposed by it.