Beitou District rezoning to legalize hot springs

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Oct 09, 2013 - Page 3

The Taipei City Government yesterday announced that it will rezone part of Xinyi Road in Beitou District (北投), making it a special-use district to legalize hot spring businesses in the area.

The area has been declared a heritage zone, and the 16 hot spring businesses along the road currently contravene the Hot Spring Act (溫泉法), which took effect in July.

The Ministry of the Interior approved the city government’s proposal before the act took effect to allow the city to rezone the area to legalize its hot spring businesses.

Taipei City Department of Urban Development Commissioner Ben Tai-ming (邊泰明) yesterday said that a total of 5.5 hectares along Xinyi Road will be rezoned as hot spring special-use district, and the operation of hot spring businesses within the area will be legal.

Hot spring establishments in the area must present a business plan to the department within the next three years to obtain permits to operate in the district. During the application period, the businesses’ operations will not be affected as long as they follow city regulations, he said.

“The rezoning of the area will resolve the issue of the status of local hot spring businesses and promote economic development,” he said.

In response to concerns about the environmental impact of hot spring development in the area, he said the department has issued temporary regulations and promised that the city government will instruct the businesses to maintain sustainable hot spring resources.

Shamao Mountain Hot Spring Association director Kao Cheng-chung (高振鐘) said that local businesses welcomed the rezoning.

Local businesses have paid taxes over the years and have been cooperative with the government’s fire and hygiene inspections, and their operations should not be misconstrued as illegal because of confusing regulations and zoning laws, he said.