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1,300 urban renewal cases affected if act not passed

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) Director-General Ding Yuh-chyurn (丁育群) yesterday said if the Urban Renewal Act amendment isn't passed at the Legislative Yuan soon, over 1,300 urban redevelopment cases across the nation will be affected.

The Justices of the Constitutional Court last April 26 released a constitutional interpretation, with the court deciding that three articles of the Urban Renewal Act violate the R.O.C. Constitution, and should be reviewed and amended within one year. Failing to do so, the three articles of the act will lose effect by 2014 April 26.

In light of this, the CPA last September submitted an amendment to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation. The Legislature was previously scheduled to review the amendment in this legislative session, however, given that the Assembly Hall of the Legislative Yuan has been occupied by the student activists since March 18, it is very likely that the amendment cannot pass its third-reading before April 26.

In response to the current situation, Ding said over 1,300 urban renewal projects — mostly located in Taipei and New Taipei City — will be affected.

Ding went on to say that for some of the administration works of the ongoing urban redevelopment projects that do not involve the regulations, the CPA could assist the projects to continue running, however, for works that involve in the three articles of the Urban Renewal Act, it has to wait until the Legislature passes the amendment.

Deputy Interior Minister Jonathan Chen (陳純敬) said the articles that the Constitutional Court deems unconstitutional are mostly about procedures of urban renewal project application, noting that the CPA could offer “temporary assistance” to handle the circumstances.

Chen added that the Ministry of the Interior will continue working to pass the amendment at the Legislative Yuan as soon as possible.

According to Constitutional Interpretation No. 709, the Urban Renewal Act does not allow for local governments to form an urban renewal review team for specific renewal project nor does it ensure participants have the opportunity to speak their opinions.

The current Urban Renewal Act requires that only 10 percent of participants living within the development area agree on a renewal project for the project proposal to be approved by the local government. However, the court deemed that the ratio of support is too low.

The court also ruled that the act does not give permission for local governments to hold hearings publicly nor inform any participant that lives within the project scope before approving the renewal project, which violates administrative procedures and the spirit of the constitution, which aims to protect individuals' property rights and freedom of residence.

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