A building in Taipei’s Xinyi District’s (信義) Yongchun Community (永春) that was part of a 16-year-old private urban renewal project was torn down yesterday.
The demolition came one day after Wang Tong-kai (王東凱), the last holdout property owner, voiced objections to the project at a meeting of the city’s urban renewal and dispute arbitration committee.
Taiwan Alliance for Victims of Urban Renewal director Peng Lung-san (彭龍三) accused the Taipei Department of Urban Development of having illegally demolished the building.
Peng said that an agreement reached between property owners in favor of the project and Sen Yeh Construction, which had been contracted to carry out the project, should have been voided after the Taipei High Administrative Court last month ruled against the Taipei City Government in a lawsuit filed by Wang and other stakeholders who opposed the project.
Peng said Wang had been “ambushed,” as Sen Yeh did not notify him before tearing down his house.
He said that he would sue Sen Yeh and department Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) over the demolition.
Minutes taken at the meeting show that Wang, whose house is on the ground floor, said that the land he can reclaim after the project’s completion should be larger than that determined by Sen Yeh, as his house would be turned into public space shared by all homeowners.
A resolution by the committee on Friday said that Wang asked to reclaim properties worth NT$1.29 billion (US$40.04 million), while the construction firm said that he can acquire properties worth NT$42.1 million.
Wang’s demand was “unreasonable,” as it is in breach of a system governing the conversion of property rights in urban renewal projects, the committee said..
Wang denied having made the claim.
When asked to comment about Peng’s pledge to sue him, Lin said: “Let him be.”
Lin said the department in January last year issued a construction license and a demolition permit for the project, adding that Sen Yeh demolished the building in accordance with the permit.
Separately, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), responding to media queries about the demolition, said that urban renewal projects in Taipei should move forward with time.
“If an urban renewal project is untended to for more than 10 years, it means that the government is negligent,” he said.
He asked people to contemplate what would have happened if the earthquake in February that killed 116 people had hit Taipei instead of Tainan.
Environmental Protection Administration Deputy Minister Thomas Chan (詹順貴), who has spoken out on the project before, criticized the municipal government for siding with the construction firm, saying that the area delimited by the demolition permit did not include Wang’s house.
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