Court orders Taitung to revoke Miramar permit

CONSTRUCTION::A Kaohsiung court found fault with the county for approving Miramar’s request based on an EIA review that differed from the original project

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Sep 12, 2015 - Page 3

The Kaohsiung High Administrative Court on Thursday ordered the Taitung County Government to revoke its approval of Miramar Resort Hotel Co’s application to resume construction of a hotel at Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣).

The court said that the county government based its approval on an environmental impact assessment (EIA) review made in 2012, which it said was a different case from the original hotel project and should not have been used as the basis for the county’s judgement.

The construction project dates back to 2004, when the county government signed a build-operate-transfer contract with the developer to construct a six-hectare hotel complex on the beach.

The county government approved the project’s EIA review in 2008, but it was overruled by the Kaohsiung High Administrative Court in 2009. The ruling was upheld by the Supreme Administrative Court in January 2012, after which construction of the hotel was halted.

The county started a second EIA review in December 2012 after the company incorporated the Golden Coast Development Plan in its original construction project and submitted the new development plan for review, which was passed conditionally.

The county government gave the green light for the company to resume construction after the 2012 EIA review.

Local residents filed two lawsuits with the Kaohsiung Administrative Court in 2013: one alleging that the 2012 EIA review was illegal and the other demanding that the approval to resume construction of the hotel be revoked.

Last year, the administrative court ordered that the second EIA approval be revoked, saying that out of the eight EIA committee members who were present at the meeting during which the development plan was passed, only five were qualified to review the case, which is not enough to form a quorum.

The court ruled that the passing of the development plan was in violation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法) and should therefore be invalidated.

The administrative court on Thursday said that the county’s approval of the company’s application to resume construction should be revoked as the court had overruled the second EIA approval. It added that the county should not have accepted the company’s resubmission of the construction project as another development plan at all.

Taitung County Deputy Commissioner Chen Chin-hu (陳金虎) said that the county would appeal the ruling, adding that the judges should see for themselves whether the local environment has been damaged by the hotel construction.