DAB lawmaker Lau Kwok-fan on Sunday called on the government to consider cutting down on public consultations for town planning procedures, among other measures, to expedite land development.
He pointed out that it currently takes up to ten years before something can be built on a piece of land, adding this his suggestions – if implemented – could cut the supply time by half.
The DAB councillor said a reorganisation of the government's structure alone isn't enough to tackle the territory’s housing shortage, adding that officials need to regularly review various outline zoning plans to meet the city's needs.
Lau also pointed out that there had been far too many consultations in the city's town planning procedures, with some of them being “meaningless”.
"The current land development procedures are too complicated, with repeated public consultations and researches. There are also insufficient communications between government departments, which results in lengthy planning procedures," he said.
"I propose to amend the law to reduce [duplications] and to conduct some [consultations at the same time] to shorten the overall development time."
He also criticised the membership of the Town Planning Board, saying it's too "diverse" and that members lack objective standards when vetting an application.
Speaking at a Legco question-and-answer session last Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city’s land development process needs to be “substantially streamlined”.
“To achieve full implementation of the Development Strategy within 20 years, bold decisions should be made to compress the land planning process," she said.
"The Development Bureau will introduce to the LegCo specific proposals on streamlining land development process in this quarter, which will cover a number of ordinances such as the Town Planning Ordinance, the Lands Resumption Ordinance and the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance."