Thu, Nov 15, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Cabinet approves proposal to boost urban renewal

MUCH MORE FLOOR The Cabinet approved a proposal by the Ministry of the Interior to raise the ratio of floor space to land area for qualifying projects

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal to raise floor-to-area ratios on certain parcels of land, saying this would create an incentive for urban regeneration.

The Ministry of the Interior had proposed that the ratio of floor space to land area be increased by a factor of between 1.5 and 2 for new buildings.

Meanwhile, the same ratio for old buildings will be increased by a factor of between 0.3 and 0.5.

The stipulated floor-to-area ratio varies with the purpose of the land in question.

The relaxation would be applied to urban renewal projects in areas near the high speed railway, railway and mass rapid transit stations, waterfronts and harbors, old-age homes and locations designated for major development projects.

"About 200 sites in the country qualify for the relaxation, which is expected to generate NT$2 trillion [US$61.75 billion] in the next five years, assuming an investment of NT$5 billion in each case," Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) said.

Chen Hsing-lung (陳興隆), an official at the ministry, gave an example to illustrate the effect of the relaxation. He said 6 ping of flooring would be permitted on 1 ping of land where 4.5 ping had been permitted before.

Lee said the Regulations of Bulk Reward for Urban Renewal (都市更新建築容積獎勵辦法) were put into practice nine years ago, but that the government was "dissatisfied" with the effectiveness of the measures.

"Over the past nine years, only 165 urban renewal cases were approved," Lee said, adding that the reason behind the slow progress in urban redevelopment was "the lack of incentives."

Local governments are authorized by the regulations to enact their own measures to boost urban renewal within the general principles set by the central government.

"But even with this leeway, local governments, because of their bureaucratic rigidity, failed to come up with incentive schemes to drive urban renewal. In view of this, we are considering expanding the scope to award such projects," Lee said.

Lee said that business will benefit from their urban renewal projects provided they construct energy-saving "green" buildings.

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