Sat, Dec 29, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Changes let authorities tear down holdouts

URBAN RENEWAL:The amendments allow municipalities to push forward with plans against resisting proprietors’ wishes, but also raised the threshold to propose projects

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

From left, Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming, Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general William Tseng look at a draft amendment to the Urban Renewal Act at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Amendments to the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例) passed yesterday allows authorities to tear down buildings to prevent holdouts from hampering projects, which lawmakers said would help speed up redevelopment plans.

Disputes between property owners in areas marked for redevelopment are to be resolved by municipal urban planning committees and urban design review committees, then hearings, in that order, the amendments say.

Urban planning committees are to prevent people from illegally zoning plots that do not belong to them into renewal projects, while the urban design review committees, staffed by land law experts, are to review the scope of any redevelopment plan.

Should any property owner disagree with the project during these two stages, a hearing is to be held to identify the source of the dispute, which could be project participants illegally including other properties to which they have no right or holdouts demanding unreasonably large sums from the contractor for the demolition of their houses.

Should all three stages fail, property owners in favor of proceeding with redevelopment may ask local governments to demolish any properties in the designated area, the amended act says.

To ensure fairness, one amendment raised the quorum for a project to be initiated from one-tenth of all affected property owners to half of all proprietors before a renewal plan can be delivered to local authorities for approval.

However, if at least 90 percent of proprietors agree to a project, the plan may be waived through, the amendments say.

Meanwhile, lawmakers approved the fiscal 2019 budget for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program after trimming it by 2 percent, or NT$4.55 billion (US$148 million), from the NT$227.5 billion proposed by the Executive Yuan.

Although unaffected by the cut, lawmakers froze 10 percent of the NT$1.8 billion earmarked for information security infrastructure at the national and local governments due to slow progress.

The NT$180 million can only be spent after the Executive Yuan delivers a report, a resolution passed by lawmakers said.

One-fifth of the NT$80.5 million originally budgeted for developing a “digital cultural and creative sector” was frozen in view of a proposed merger between Academia Historica and the National Archives Administration.

The Presidential Office in an earlier statement said that it is an outdated practice for a government to compile historical literature in the democratic era and the two agencies would be merged.

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