"Sweetening or threatening, we do not easily give up on unfair deals" says committee representatives
"Due compensation must be made to residents" says Land Owners and Residents Solidarity for Public Housing Development
It has been an ongoing dispute between the Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH) and the land owners and residents in public housing development areas over fair compensation. Each party is strong in their rights to do things the way they want and angered land owners and residents formed the Land Owners and Residents Solidarity for Public Housing Development to bring legal and mass counterattack. June 20, 200 residents in the Yongin Platform City development area gathered together to launch a residents committee to negotiate with Yongin City, Yongin Housing Corporation, and Gyeonggi Housing & Urban Development Corporation. PowerKorea sat down with the committee chairman Kim Byeong-don and secretary general Kim Su-gwang, and the Solidary president Im Chae-gwan and secretary general Lee Jeong-do.
Baek Jong-won (Publisher of PowerKorea): You say that Yonin City handles the matter with more haste than caution?
Kim (chairman): The city put up the development notice on July 1 last year and pushed forward the approval notice in 6 months which normally takes more than a year. Affected residents are being sweetened or threatened by the officials in charge and it means that we cannot receive due compensation.
Baek: What exactly is the problem?
Kim: The development is carried out by Yongin City with 5% share and Gyeonggi Housing & Urban Development Corporation with 95% share. In order to carry out the development, they need more than 50% residents consent on compensating the land. Many of the residents were forced to sign the consent without their own will. The result anyway was 57.2% but we cannot accept this result because it was illegally carried out. We've already made a number of complaints on this but the city and the corporation do not budge an inch.
Kim (secretary): The urban planning inquiry committee also has a procedural problem. It held meeting only once for this 6 trillion won (5.5 billion USD) development project to be approved which I can't understand at all.
Baek: Does the Solidarity has any plan on this?
Im: Our job is to minimize the devaluation of the land the residents owned or lived so the Solidarity will keep carrying on the fight in cooperation with the residents committees.
Kim (chairman): In fact, our demands are simple and clear: let's have a talk with the residents and negotiate reasonably for both sides to be satisfied. But since they are lukewarm in response, we warned them that we would file for an injunction and then they said they would consider a review. We do not ask something illegal or way too much but we just ask reasonable compensation in legal boundary and that's all. In fact, we are welcoming building the platform city which will be a landmark of the city. We are citizens after all and we will be proud of it.
Baek: What is the platform city?
Kim (secretary): It is the 2,743,801 square meter farmland to be developed into a public apartment complex. Like I said earlier, the procedure of collecting land owner's consent was done by coercion and threatening without open talk about due compensation.
Kim (chairman): I think the city is deliberately making land owners confused about supply and development by using the term 'group exchange of land'. In the supply method, there is no such thing as group exchange of land. It is all carried out individually.
Lee: Committees are normally divided into two: one is residents and another land owners. Residents tend to receive compensation fast and land owners compensation proper. So there arises a conflict within the committees and the city officials are likely to use this in their advantage by either firing up the furnace or help the committees on their side.
Im: For the same reason, there always are several committees in the public housing development areas. Some pursue their own gain and we, the Solidarity, dose not welcome that committees.
Kim (chairman): Residents must also make their voice strong for due compensation. The important thing is whether the committee is resident-led or land owner-led, we all are on the same boat and we have to work together rather than split in pursuit of our own gain.
Baek: What is the most urgent thing to be done at the moment?
Kim (chairman): We are working on filing an injunction. We asked the city and the corporation to form a communication committee and sit at the roundtable with us to talk and settle down the matter reasonably and rationally within the legal boundary.
Kim (secretary): It makes us furious that the city rather seems to abuse their power to lead things the way they want.
Lee: Generally speaking, after expropriating the land the LH uses good part for their own good and the left over is used for houses of the land owners. The government's plan to supply 1.3 million houses within the year 2021 also is accelerating the haste of local governments. It means that many land owners and residents are likely to fall into the losing part.
Baek: What are your plans this year to improve things?
Im: We will work on improving the land compensation system for fair compensation. Also, we will work on raising the current 10% transfer tax reduction rate. In fact, the Solidary has limited power to do things at the moment so we are open to cooperate with the related government departments.
Kim (chairman): I really want to ask the government just to think once why the land owners and residents of the affected areas tie a band around their head and take the street with pickets. I mean just for once! Meanwhile, we will keep working on our talking and compromise policy for the good of both parties.
Kim (secretary): Development gain has always been the problem. The developers always have been the one who benefit the most. I cannot help feeling that this national development project is squeezing money out of poor citizens. I strongly feel the need for the government to bring up the transparent and rigorous standard that can prevent any conflicts in the course of public housing development in the future. PowerKorea → powering Korean business to the world!
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