[EDITORIALS]Don't Negotiate Urban PlanningThe rezoning of lands by regional autonomous bodies and development agencies has been rampant, and is creating serious problems. Although rezoning sometimes goes against the interests of residents, those authorities have forcefully carried out rezoning. Meanwhile, questions of irregularities associated with conflicts of interests between the regional self-governments and land developers mount.
The recently reported case of changing urban planning for Jeongja district, located in Bundang, is one of many thoughtless rezoning cases prevalent nationwide. The city of Seongnam and the Korea Land Corp. totally ignored the interests of residents and the two organizations rezoned the land in Bundang as they wished.
Such problems are serious in newly developed cities such as Bundang and Ilsan, in particular. Currently, rezoning is ongoing in 10 sites in five newly developed cities; in Baekseok-dong in Ilsan, a 99,000-square meter site was rezoned as a commercial district so that buildings for integrated purposes of housing and commercial activities could be built.
In most cases, rezoning is an irregular measure that is employed when sales of land fall short of meeting original plans. Rezoning changes the evaluation of lands and it often brings enormous profits from development. In addition, conflicts of interests between various developers are often intertwined, which generates serious irregularities.
In newly developed cities, lands zoned for commercial use have sold slowly since the foreign exchange crisis hit in late 1997. Therefore, the Korea Land Corp. and the Korea National Housing Corp., which had difficulty raising profits from investments, led rezoning in such cities. The local autonomous bodies sought to raise regional tax revenues, taking advantage of such changes.
Urban planning and development should not be such a frequent subject of negotiation. Frequent changes of urban planning indicate that the planning itself has a problem. Local autonomous bodies and developers should prepare thoroughly thought-out plans from the beginning. They should also restrict the procedures and approval of rezoning in order to minimize possible exceptions.