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Seoul mayor announces exit plan for `new town` project

Posted January. 31, 2012 05:04,   


Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced Monday exit strategies for the “new town” project in the capital. A new town is a residential and commercial district.

The strategies include no more designations of additional new towns, easing conditions for canceling existing new town construction, fiscal support for sunk costs in case of cancellation, and protecting tenants and merchants residing in new towns.

“Today is the day to end 40 years of rampant urban redevelopment and 10 years of new town history. The city, lawmakers, the government and construction companies should apologize for having misled public opinion on new towns,” Park said.

Under the new plan, large redevelopment projects will be suspended and only works that supplement basic facilities of existing new towns will be promoted.

Among the 1,300 areas under redevelopment in and around the capital, including 370 sites in 35 new towns, the city from April will review 610 whose construction plans have not been approved yet. Among them, 317 areas lacking promotion committees or unions will be inspected under the rights of mayor and district chiefs. Cancellations will be made if more than 30 percent of landowners request so.

293 areas with a union or promotion committee, however, will be eligible for inspection only when at least 10 percent of landowners agree. After agreement, the district head can cancel approval under the condition that more than half of landowners agree.

A combined 866 areas excluding the 434 whose development is completed will go through a conflict adjustment process. Experts will be sent to each area to collect resident opinions to tackle conflict over cancellation where development is under way. Areas wishing to carry out the original plans will get administrative support if they want to shift to small-size homes, while financial support will also be given in establishing plans.

Tenants ineligible for protection in existing developments will be given rental apartments if they receive basic living subsidies.

The Seoul city government’s new plan will require a large budget to take implement. Unions and promotion committees will have to be supported with costs used during project promotion to ensure smooth cancellation.