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Application by anticipation of the revised PPRN: cancellation is no longer possible

Marigot – On March 30th, the administrative court of appeal of Bordeaux annulled the decision of the administrative court of Saint-Martin, which annulled the prefectoral decree relating to the application by anticipation of the revised natural risk prevention plan (PPRN).After the passage of Irma, the President of the Republic ordered the revision of the PRRN (which had been established after the passage of Luis) to take into account the impact of the hurricane swell. The document has been modified accordingly based on several scientific data and field surveys.

A new zoning and a new regulation have been suggested. Pending the public inquiry and thus the application of the final PPRN, the prefect had wished to apply by anticipation as the law allows, the PPRN as revised in view of the emergency character of the occurrence of another cyclone. It is in this sense that she took an order on August 6th, 2019.Disagreeing with this decision, the Collectivité referred the matter to the Administrative Court of Saint-Martin to have the prefectoral order cancelled. On July 20th, 2020, it obtained a ruling to that effect. But the Ministry of Ecological Transition appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal of Bordeaux and on March 30th this year, it won the case.

This means that the revised PPRN is again applied in advance.The Ministry argued in particular that it was “wrongly that the court had considered that the condition of urgency was not fulfilled while the recurrent nature of the cyclonic hazard and the existence of a risk of occurrence of a new cyclone in St. Martin demonstrate the proven nature of this emergency; it is the same for the need not to compromise the application of the future plan by an aggravation of the risks, particularly because of the strong increase in requests for planning permission since the occurrence of Hurricane Irma on September 6th, 2017, particularly due to the increase in population, the significant urban planning pressure on the coastline due to the relief of the island; the possible issuance of building permits creates an aggravation of the risk due to the exposure of future buildings to hurricanes given the meteorological situation of the island and the vulnerability of people and property, and the long delays in revising the PPRN.”

The Ministry also considered that the administrative court had wrongly considered that “the draft PPRN was not sufficiently advanced since it considered in reality that only a finalized and not sufficiently advanced project was likely to be applied in advance.

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