Wed, Apr 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Scores protest outside city council over fines for Neihu illegal residential units

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, right, accepts protest placards from city councilors before delivering an administrative report to the Taipei City Council yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Nearly 200 people wearing white T-shirts and caps yesterday afternoon protested in front of the Taipei City Council building and handed Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) a petition against fines the city government imposed on residents of 1,675 illegal residential units in a commercial zone in Neihu District (內湖).

The residential units were found by the city government last year in a 105 hectare area along Neihu’s Mingshui and Jingye roads near the MRT Jiannan Road Station, although the area was designated for commercial and recreational use in 2003.

From March to August last year, the Taipei Department of Urban Development informed residents that they would face fines under the Urban Planning Act (都市計畫法) for living in illegal residential units.

In October last year, the department announced five categories of fines according to unit size.

Despite several protests by the area’s residents, the department in December last year said that it would not change its decision to impose fines.

As Ko was asked to report to the city council during the first meeting of its new session yesterday, nearly 200 residents of the area gathered outside to protest against what they called unfair fines and handed their petition to the mayor.

Several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party city councilors joined the protesters in support.

Ko accepted the written petition, but walked into the building without verbally responding to the demonstrators.

A few city councilors also attempted to stop Ko from delivering his administrative report at the beginning of the meeting, which mainly focused on the issue of illegal residential units in Neihu.

KMT Taipei City Councilor Chen Yi-chou (陳義洲) said that department Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) has defamed the residents as intentionally living in an area that is not zoned for residential use.

Citing a survey that showed the majority of city government department heads did not read urban planning documents before purchasing residential units, Chen said the government should not condemn the residents for not knowing the homes they purchased were illegally constructed in a commercial and recreational zone.

KMT Taipei City Councilor Yeh Lin-chuan (葉林傳) urged Ko to re-evaluate urban planning in Neihu.

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