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Dübendorf ZH – Permission for the construction of the Innovation Park Dübendorf has been refused in the planned form. This was the ruling handed down by the Administrative Court of Zurich. The canton does not have the competence to issue a cantonal design plan for an area of this size.

The cantonal administrative court has revoked the legal basis for the planned construction of the Innovation Park Zurich. As the court announced on Tuesday, with its judgment on July 8, it has overturned the cantonal building management's decision on the cantonal design plan for the innovation park.

This kind of design plan is only possible for specific individual buildings or individual units. However, with a perimeter measuring 36 hectares and a total useable area of up to 410,000 square meters, the design plan for the innovation park does not fit these requirements. Moreover, the “particular purpose of supporting innovation” does nothing to change this fact. “On account of its dimensions and the proposed usage, the design plan does not therefore constitute a project-related construction zone, but rather a general one”, the court writes in its announcement.

The canton had therefore exceeded its authority: only the municipalities are responsible for defining general construction zones. “The instrument of the cantonal design plan is therefore not available for the intended plans”, the announcement states. In addition, from the perspective of the judges, the design plan violates the cantonal general land use planning, as the majority of the site is in a specified agricultural zone within the canton.

The cantonal building management department had defined the design plan on August 9, 2017. Two residents launched an appeal to the cantonal building court, although this ultimately failed. However, this ruling has now also been overturned by the Administrative Court. Nevertheless, an appeal can now be submitted to the Federal Court against the judgment handed down by the Administrative Court

The idea of an Innovation Park Zurich on the site of the military airfield in Dübendorf provided the inspiration behind the creation of the Switzerland Innovation Park. While such parks have already been a success in Aargau, the greater Basel area, Biel as well as in both Western and Central Switzerland, the threat of failure is now hanging over the original inspiration for this whole concept. In 2018, the Zurich government had already applied for a loan in the amount of 217.6 million Swiss francs for the construction, development and support of the innovation park in Dübendorf.