Residents of Yuanlin Township (員林), Changhua County, said yesterday that they were forced to participate in an urban land consolidation project and had to pay an unreasonable price differential of up to NT$20 million (US$670,000).
Representatives of more than 100 households in the town told a press conference in Taipei yesterday that they could not afford the huge price differential and they would rather sell their properties to the government and relocate.
Yao Jung-tsang (姚榮燦), one of the residents’ representatives, quoted the Changhua County Government as saying the 184 hectare project would use the agricultural area for construction to improve public infrastructure and roads.
The government said landowners would receive an average area of 55 percent of their original property and pay a price differential, Yao said.
Hundreds of households in the project found out that they would have to pay the price differential to keep their buildings intact, with more than 100 households having to pay between NT$2 million and NT$20 million.
“We never expected the price to be that huge,” said Hsu Chuan-tsung (徐詮聰), who has to pay NT$12.12 million and would see his property decrease from 297 ping (980m2) to 235 ping after the readjustment.
Hsu said residents were helpless because they could not say no to the project and were not permitted to sell their properties once the project begins.
The way the price differential has been calculated — based on the difference between assessed and publicly announced land values and current prices — is not right, Hsu said.
Hsu said he suspected that the project would only benefit owners of agricultural land, who would see their property values skyrocket, but not those owning properties in the current construction area because the project “would not change our lives a bit.”
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷), who hosted the press conference, said the calculation method was unfair and that was why some landowners would rather have their properties expropriated and receive compensation so they could buy houses elsewhere.
Department of Land Administration Director Hsiao Fu-dao (蕭輔導) said the project was still in its notification period and residents could submit objections to the county’s land consolidation committee and ask for another review.
Current regulations stipulate that, for those urban land consolidation projects with public facilities comprising less than 45 percent of the total area, the agreement of more than half of the landowners is not required, Hsiao said.