Tue, Dec 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Urban Renewal Act change halted by consensus failure

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

An amendment to the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例) was stalled at the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday after legislators failed to reach consensus over the numerous proposed revisions to the act.

Parts of the act were nullified in April after a ruling by the Council of Grand Justices declared them to be unconstitutional, leading to a halt to more than 90 urban renewal projects across the nation.

The grand justices said that Article 10 of the act violated people’s property rights as guaranteed by the Constitution, because it allows urban renewal projects to be enacted with only the agreement of 10 percent of residents.

The ruling came as a victory for land rights activists who have been campaigning against several controversial demolition projects, including the Wenlin Yuan (文林苑) project in Taipei’s Shilin District (士林).

Legislators failed to reach consensus on reforms to the act yesterday, with a total of 20 new versions of the act proposed.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said that the bill should be handled with caution, adding that he expects the revised version of the bill to strike a balance between protecting land rights concerns while also ensuring incentives for urban development.

Although legislators agreed that the threshold for urban renewal should be raised, disagreement arose regarding the exact threshold of urban renewal projects.

In response to criticism that urban renewal projects have been controlled by private developers, Deputy Minister of the Interior Jonathan Chen (陳純敬) said the revised version of the act should ensure that the government plays a central role in future urban renewal projects.

The committee is set to resume its review of the act on Jan. 12.

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