Establishing administrative boundaries

22 Administration in the Sphere of Land Relationships

2.2. Establishing administrative boundaries

NB. Administrative units of Ukraine consist of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblasts, rayons, cities, rayons of cities, settlements and villages (§ 1 art. 133 CoU), with “rayon” and “rayon of a city” describing different units (the Decision of the Constitutional Court №11-рп/2001 of 13.07.2001). Territories of a village or of a settlement should be distinguished from “a village (settlement) council” as an administrative unit, which includes one or more settlements and a territory adjacent to is (them). Such administrative units were foreseen by the Decision of the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada of UkrSSR On the procedure for arranging the matters of administrative division of the Ukrainian SSR of 12.03.1981. They are not mentioned in CoU, but still de-facto exist.

There are 490 rayons, 457 cities, 118 rayons in cities, 885 urban settlement, 10281 village councils, 28562 villages in Ukraine1.

NB. A lot of cities, urban settlements, villages have no proper defined boundaries, many boundaries are outdated for instance, the boundaries of Kyiv were officially set in 1936 р., since then the actual city size has grown almost 200 squire km2 As of June 2009 the boundaries of 19176 settlements were set, which is 64,3% of their total number (29814)3. There is an established opinion, that the main reason for slow pace of determining boundaries is the lack of financing. Though comparing estimated costs of boundaries determination with prospective proceeds to budgets from land tax and rent (costs are only 3-8% comparing to proceedings) allows to conclude that the delay has mostly subjective causes4.

Currently the procedure for establishing the boundaries of administrative units is governed primarily by arts. 173-176 LCU. According to established opinion relationships of administrative units boundaries determination should be covered by more detailed rules contained at LU On administrative division, which is still not adopted..

The procedure of boundaries determination includes (1) development of land survey technical documentation, (2) state examination of land survey technical documentation, (3) its approval and (4) certifying the boundaries.

(1) Development of land survey documentation. § 2 art. 173 LCU stipulates that the boundaries of rayons, settlements, cities, rayons in cities are established and modified according to land survey technical documentation which are developed “with the view to master plans of the relevant settlements”. The provisions on land survey technical documentation are provided for in art. 46 LU On land survey.

It seems that it is illegal to change the boundaries of a settlement if there is no master plan for this settlement. Nevertheless such practice is rather common5.

(2) State land survey examination of technical documentation in case of administrative boundaries determination is mandatory (art 9 LU On state land survey examination).

(3) Approval of land survey technical documentation.

The competence of land survey technical documentation (of this type) approval is distributed in the following way:

  • pursuant to subpara. 29 § 1 art. 85 CoU, subpara. «г» art. 6, § 1 art. 174 LCU, the boundaries of rayons and cities are to be defined by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the basis of application filed by Verkhovna Rada of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblast, Kyiv city and Sevastopol city councils (§ 1 art. 174 LCU);
  • subpara. «з» art. 7, subpara. «ж» art. 8, subpara. «д» art. 10, subpara. «і» art. 12, § 2 art. 174 LCU vest the authority to define the boundaries of villages and settlements, which are included into the relevant rayon , upon the rayon councilson the basis of application filed the relevant village, settlement councils”, and of those “not included into the relevant rayon, or if rayon council is not established upon the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblast, Kyiv and Sevastopol city councils. According to supbara. 41 § 1 art. 26, subpara. 26 § 1 art. 43 LU On local self-government in Ukraine, the decisions on the matters of administrative division are made exclusively at the plenary sessions;

NB. Neither CoU (arts. 133, 140) nor other legislative acts in force provide for an existence of villages and settlements within cities, but the law gives Kyiv and Sevastopol city councils the power to determine boundaries of villages and settlements. An example when this power was exercised was inclusion of the urban settlement of Pushcha-Vodytsya into the system of administrative division of Kyiv by Kyiv City Council (the decision №162/1139 of 30.01.2001). Less than in a year Kyiv city council integrated the settlement into Obolon rayon of Kyiv exactly for the reason that legislation does not provide for a possibility to include a settlement into a city (the decision №72/1506 of 08.11.2001).

Situations when settlements (in wide sense) exist within other settlements are rather common in Ukraine. As of 2000 in administrative boundaries of cities of rayon scale there were 1400 settlements and villages6. This situation leads, in particular, to overlapping of competence in issues of land disposal between the councils of different settlements.

  • boundaries of rayons in cities are determined by city councils (subpara «и» art. 12, § 3 art. 174 LCU) exclusively in plenary sessions (subpara. 41 § 1 art. 26, subpara. 26 § 1 art. 43 LU On local self-government in Ukraine) on application of rayon in cities councils (it is impossible to comply with the last requirement if the division into rayons is introduced for the first time). The authority of city councils to determine the boundaries of rayons in cities is not directly established by CoU, nevertheless it derives from the authority of councils to “organize rayon management in cities” (§ 5 art. 140 CoU). Such interpretation of the provisions of CoU is established by the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in the case on administrative division of 13.07.2001 № 11-рп/2001 (§ 2 of the decisions operative part);
  • the authority to determine the boundaries of oblasts and of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is not directly attached to any body. In my opinion with the view to the fact that setting the boundaries of oblast automatically means setting of the boundaries of rayons, such authority lies upon the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which has the power to determine boundaries of rayons7.

Excerpt from technical land survey documentation on establishing and modification of settlement boundaries

(a full-size copy is available at

(4) Certifying the boundaries.

The procedure for boundaries certification today is incomplete. Art. 176 LCU requires to certify the boundaries with a state deed according to the deed sample and the procedure, determined by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. As of now the parliament did not determined neither sample nor procedure. There are no legal consequences attached to certification of administrative boundaries with a state deed of with a failure to do so.

The approach of P. Kulynych who argues that the rule on administrative boundaries certification with a state deed is harmful and that art. 176 LCU should be repelled, should be fully supported8.

1 Євсюков Т.О. Місце та роль земельного кадастру у процесі планування просторового розвитку // Земельні відносини і просторовий розвиток в Україні: матеріали Міжнар. наук. конф. У двох частинах (Київ, 13-14 квітня 2006 р.) / НАН України, Рада по вивченню продуктивних сил України. Редкол.: Данилишин Б.М. (відпов. ред.), Бистряков І.К., Новоторов О.С., Ніколаєнко Т.С., Кучер О.О., Осипенко В.М. Київ: РПВС України, НАН України, 2006. Ч. І. - С.49.

2 ІРЦ «Реформування земельних відносин в Україні» // [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу:

3 Інформація до засідання Комісії з опрацювання та комплексного вирішення питань реалізації державної політики у сфері раціонального використання та охорони земель від 28.05.2009 // Поточний архів Ради національної безпеки та оборони України.

4 ІРЦ «Моя земля» // [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу:

5 ІРЦ «Моя земля» // [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу:

6 Варда Я., Клосовскі В. Острови надій: розробка стратегій локального розвитку. 2-е вид. Пер. з пол. М. Р. Желяк. К.: Молодь, 2005. С.41.

7 This thesis is shared by A. Martyn and A. Ripenko: Мартин А., Ріпенко А. Землекористування в межах територіального моря // Правовий тиждень. 2009. 22 вересня. - №38 (164) / [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу:

8 Кулинич П.Ф. Державні акти на землю в системі виникнення земельних прав: минуле, сьогодення і майбутнє // Земельне право України. 2006. - №5. С.36.