Fire prompts Ko to tackle issue of illegal structures -

Fire prompts Ko to tackle issue of illegal structures

Credit: taipeitimes.com

  • Dec 06 2017 17:15About: 7 days ago
  • 9 views

In the wake of a deadly fire on Tuesday night, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he is prepared to tackle an issue that defeated some of his predecessors, including former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁): demolishing illegal rooftop structures and building modifications.

Ko told reporters that he was considering abolishing Chen’s administrative order that allowed illegal structures or modifications erected before 1995 to be registered with the city government and temporarily exempted them from demolition.

Most illegal structures in Taipei predate Dec. 31, 1994, he said, adding: “I think it is inappropriate for every mayor to keep saying that illegal cases that occurred before he took office can be allowed to circumvent regulations. So, I am considering nullifying the ‘special pardon’ granted by Chen.”

Chen took office as Taipei mayor on Dec. 24, 1994.

Asked when he would announce the lifting the special pardon, Ko said the issue requires more discussion and would refer to bylaws for dealing with existing illegal constructions that are being drafted by the Ministry of the Interior.

However, illegal structures built in 1995 or later would be classified into three groups, with those that are considered major illegal structures or that pose a grave danger to the public to be demolished first, he said.

Public safety issues highlighted by recent fires must addressed, he added.

Tuesday night’s fire in a five-story apartment building on Bade Road killed one resident and injured another.

An initial police investigation indicated that the fire was likely caused by an induction stove explosion on the fourth floor, with the blaze quickly spreading to an illegal rooftop addition.

The fourth and fifth floor apartments are owned by the same landlord, who rented them to a man surnamed Wang (汪), officials said.

Wang illegally partitioned the two apartments, creating 15 units on the fourth floor and seven units on the fifth, which he rented out, they said.

Wang and the tenant who owns the induction stove were taken into custody for manslaughter and endangering public safety.

A contributing factor to the fire was that an illegal rooftop addition above the fifth floor was exempted from demolition, Ko said, adding that illegal modifications to the fourth floor were never reported.

“Honestly, if people have not formed the habit of obeying the law, it will be very difficult for the government to discover what illegal modifications they have made to their homes,” he said.

Taipei Department of Urban Development Commissioner Lin Jou-min (林洲民) said the apartment building and the illegal rooftop structure were built before Dec. 31, 1994, and therefore exempted from demolition under current regulations.

The compartmentalization of the two apartments had not been reported, he said.

“There are about 25,000 existing illegal structures on record that are exempted from demolition citywide,” Lin said, adding that Ko had ordered officials to address the safety of housing units similar to those in the Bade Road building.

Lin quoted Ko as saying that city departments should work together to identify and report any illegal structure with more than three rooms by conducting daily inspections and that an application procedure should be introduced to require homeowners to obtain a permit before they are allowed to carry out internal modifications to their properties.



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In wake deadly fire Tuesday night Taipei Mayor Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said prepared tackle issue that defeated some predecessors including former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁): demolishing illegal rooftop structures building modifications. Ko told reporters considering abolishing Chen’s administrative order allowed modifications erected before 1995 registered with city government temporarily exempted them from demolition. Most predate Dec. 1994 said adding: “I think inappropriate every mayor keep saying cases occurred took office circumvent regulations. nullifying ‘special pardon’ granted Chen.” Chen 1994. Asked when would announce lifting special pardon requires more discussion refer bylaws dealing existing constructions being drafted Ministry Interior. However built later classified into three groups those considered major pose grave danger public demolished first said. Public safety issues highlighted recent fires must addressed added. Tuesday night’s five-story apartment Bade Road killed resident injured another. An initial police investigation indicated likely caused induction stove explosion fourth floor blaze quickly spreading addition. The fifth apartments owned same landlord rented surnamed Wang (汪) officials said. Wang illegally partitioned apartments creating units seven fifth which out they tenant owns were taken custody manslaughter endangering safety. A contributing factor addition above demolition said adding never reported. “Honestly people have formed habit obeying law will very difficult discover what made their homes” said. Taipei Department Urban Development Commissioner Jou-min (林洲民) structure 1994 therefore under current regulations. The compartmentalization been reported said. “There about 25000 record citywide” said ordered address housing similar building. Lin quoted departments should work together identify report than rooms conducting daily inspections application procedure introduced require homeowners obtain permit carry internal properties.

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