Planning approval procedure is the key tool in sectoral planning law. The purpose of a planning approval procedure is to determine whether a particular development project with spatial impacts (mostly infrastructural projects) is to be permitted to proceed. This procedure involves weighing and balancing both the interests of the developer and any public or private interests which might be affected by the development project. It concludes with a legally binding decision. Planning approval procedure is governed by federal and state administrative procedural law and is very similar throughout the country.
Planning approval includes all of the other required decisions by public authorities (e.g., licences, permits, concessions, consent), and regulates all public-law relationships between the developer and those affected by the project. Planning approval is therefore a comprehensive concentrative and formative process. The outcome of planning approval procedure is the planning approval decision. In addition to planning approval procedure, sectoral planning law permits sectoral area designations (spatially relevant sectoral planning).