Sat, Apr 25, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Three buildings in Jiahe designated historic buildings

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

People urge the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs’ to appropriate historical buildings to guard against land speculation in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liang Pei-chi, Taipei Times

The Taipei Department of Cultural Heritage Review Committee yesterday designated three buildings in Jiahe New Village (嘉禾新村) as historic architecture, while denying demands by civil groups that the entire village be designated as a historical site.

Protests prior to the meeting pitted a collection of elderly landowners against young people advocate group Jiahe Studio.

Jiahe Studio representative Cheng Hui-chun (鄭慧君) said the site has historical value as Taipei’s last remaining military dependent’s village affiliated with the Combined Service Forces, a former military unit charged with logistics and maintenance.

Cheng reiterated group demands that the site be preserved in its entirety while being transformed into public housing and social welfare facilities.

Site landowners said that the proposals would sacrifice their rights.

Landowner Hong Fu-mei (洪富美) said forcibly designating the village as a historical site would be the latest in a series of government infractions on landowner’s rights, adding that the military had forcibly occupied the land upon which the village was built during the White Terror era, refusing to pay rent until after the end of the Martial Law era.

If the village were designated as a historic site, landowners would only be allowed to sell to corporations, who could donate it to the city government in exchange for “volume rewards,” allowing separate development projects to have exceptions to city restrictions on building height.

Corporations would only be allowed to pay the “assessed value,” she said, adding that the “assessed value” was less than half of the land’s market price.

Chang Shih-hsing (張世興), a lawyer representing the landowners, said that designating the village as a historical site without approval from landowners would be illegal, because the vast majority of the site was privately owned.

Meanwhile, the committee also designated an old well and building front in Wanhua District (萬華) as historic architecture.

Kulatao Protection Alliance founder Shih Pei-yin (施佩吟) earlier said that the entire community should be designated a historical site on the grounds that it can be traced back more than 300 years.

The committee also ordered revisions to the preservation plan presented by the owner of the Wenmeng Building (文萌樓) historic site, a former brothel dating back to the 1930s that served as a hub for protests against Taipei’s decision to ban legalized prostitution.

Representatives of the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters urged that the plan be rejected outright on grounds the landowner’s previous actions had already demonstrated a lack of sincere commitment to site preservation.

A protracted legal fight was sparked after new ownership sought to expel the group, leading the group to demand that the city appropriate the property.

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