Private development projects play a key role in meeting housing needs of the society. To expedite housing supply, the Chief Executive has announced in her 2020 Policy Address to set up a Development Projects Facilitation Office (“DPFO”) under the Development Bureau to facilitate the processing of development approval applications for larger-scale private residential sites leading up to the commencement of works.
Development approval applications typically include those for planning, lease modification / land exchange, as well as building plan and building-related consent, the processing of which are often an inter-departmental process. DPFO will track and monitor applications for private residential developments with 500 flats or more (hereafter called “the tracked cases”), and work with designated coordinators in the relevant bureaux and departments to ensure effective processing of cases. Within the Development Bureau, DPFO will work to Deputy Secretary (Planning and Lands)3 and provide regular progress reports of the tracked cases to Permanent Secretary for Development (Planning and Lands). Where necessary, the DPFO may seek steer from higher levels (including Committee on Planning and Land Development) or refer policy or systematic issues to relevant forum (such as Steering Group on Streamlining Development Control) for further review to resolve issues hindering progress.
DPFO does not replace the approving authorities or seek to change the applicable statutory procedures or standards. Project proponents will continue to apply to, and liaise with, the relevant authorities for development approvals in accordance with the existing mechanisms. Project proponents are not expected to approach DPFO to bypass the relevant authorities processing their cases or enquire after the status of their applications. They are nonetheless welcome to contact DPFO on any major issues of concern they encounter during the approval processes. Likewise, DPFO may approach the project proponents on a need basis.
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