Fri, Sep 30, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Expropriation reform puts Aerotropolis in jeopardy: supporters

THE END?called the ministry’s proposal to require the support of 90% of landowners to approve expropriations ‘frightening’

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Proposed land expropriation reforms could jeopardize the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, supporters of the project said yesterday at a protest outside the Ministry of the Interior in Taipei.

About 30 members of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Local Promotion Association shouted opposition to what they called opaque “black box” drafting of possible amendments to the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例), saying that only people opposed to the Aerotropolis project had been invited to a ministry meeting yesterday on the amendments.

The ministry said last week that it would propose amending several laws to increase the protections for landowners and residents, including raising the support threshold for approval of “zone expropriation” to more than 90 percent of landowners.

The ministry also promised to temporarily freeze the reviews of controversial expropriation cases prior to the implementation of new reforms of the hearings in November aimed at guaranteeing due process.

Association members criticized both proposals as the latest in a serious of obstacles to the Aerotropolis project, in which several thousand hectares of land around Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport are to be developed alongside the construction of a new runway.

“It has already been more than 10 years, but the Aerotropolis project keeps dragging on,” association member and landowner Kuo Min-hui (郭敏慧) said, citing the holding of 24 preparatory hearings and six official ones. “All this has been for the sake of those opposed to expropriation, but they can already choose to be excluded.”

She called the ministry’s proposal to require 90 percent support to approve expropriations “frightening,” stating a simple majority should be sufficient.

“This is just outrageous because it would be extremely difficult to meet the threshold. The government might as well make a public announcement that it is abolishing ‘zone expropriations’ because there will not be any further cases,” association executive secretary Hsu Ying-han (許英漢) said.

Even though the redistributed land would be half the original plots size under the plans, most residents support the project because of the potential for increased land values and better living standards, association member and local resident Hsu Shih-hung (徐士烘) said, adding that his home’s location is extremely noisy and polluted because of the air traffic.

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