Pollensa town, not by the coast but will it miss out when it comes to the zoning? | MDB

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As observed in yesterday's Bulletin, the holiday rentals' zoning decisions of the Council of Majorca are likely to benefit municipalities in Majorca's interior at the expense of coastal municipalities.

There are in all 42,649 accommodation places (beds) to be allocated. This is the figure contained under the recent legislation and it applies to all forms of accommodation, so not just holiday rentals. Even so, it is expected that the great majority of these places will be for private accommodation as holiday rentals.

The question, ever since the principle of zoning was raised, has been where these places will go. It has already been established that certain resort areas will be excluded. Playa de Palma, Cala Millor, Magalluf are among areas deemed to be "saturated", so they have been removed from the equation.

It is now the case that the Council of Majorca, finalising its plan for intervention in tourist areas (PIAT), will apply criteria in addition to Majorca having been divided into nine general regions (one of them Palma) for zoning considerations. These criteria include whether land is in a coastal area not deemed to be saturated and different classifications of land in the interior, e.g. urban development where there isn't saturation. By saturation, the Council basically means the level of existing rentals' activity.

It is looking increasingly certain that the zoning decisions will be made in favour of interior areas where there isn't saturation. In other words, there is plenty of scope to make available and add rentals' places, be these apartments or standalone properties. In general, these parts of the interior do not have high levels of tourism activity, so their local economies stand to benefit.

The Council will be consulting town halls on the zoning decisions. The town halls can request modification to these decisions but only by wanting fewer places; they can't ask for more. It will ultimately be down to the town halls how the places are distributed, so long as they are in accordance with the general plan for zoning.

In the past in the Bulletin we have drawn attention to fact that in the Canary Islands there was a successful legal challenge to what was a similar approach. In those islands there was a specific legislative provision for further development of holiday rentals to only be in non-coastal areas. A court ruled that this breached principles of competition. The difference in the Balearics is that a distribution of rentals' places away from the coasts isn't a provision in law. In practice, however, it would seem that it is going to be.