Building limits eased near air basesThe military has largely eased height restrictions on buildings near major Air Force bases nationwide, spurring expectations for development projects in the vicinities of military installations.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, height restrictions will be eased at 10 areas near tactical Air Force bases. The areas near the Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, as well as areas near air bases in Daegu, Suwon, Gwangju, Sacheon, Jungwon, Yecheon, Gangneung, Osan and Cheongju will benefit from the eased regulations.
“As long as the eased restrictions do not lower the operational capabilities and the functions of the bases, we will apply the same standards as civilian airports,” the ministry said in a press release. “We believe this change will be an opportunity to protect people’s rights to their properties while guaranteeing the military airports’ operational conditions.”
The ministry said it commissioned a survey in May of last year to ease the height restrictions. The survey was completed after nine months, and the ministry has finalized new height restrictions based on the report.
The ministry said the new restrictions are based on the International Civil Aviation Organization’s “shielding theory.” The regulations use the highest natural topographical feature on the side of a runway, such as a mountain, as a standard.
Under current regulations, no building taller than 45 meters (147 feet) is allowed near an air base, but the new restrictions are expected to allow construction of much taller buildings. The new height limits will vary in each of the 10 areas depending on the natural landmarks.
The relaxed height limits are expected to alleviate complaints from owners of properties near air bases, particularly those who have assets near the Seoul Airport in Seongnam, just south of the capital.
In Seongnam, the 193-meter-high peak of Yeongsang Mountain will be used as a standard. Because the runway of the Seoul Airport is elevated 28 meters from ground level, new buildings as high as 165 meters tall are expected to be allowed in the neighboring areas, where massive development projects are being planned.
The Seongnam city government welcomed the changes, noting that the measures will improve housing conditions as well as enhance owners’ rights to properties.
In March 2009, the government allowed Lotte Group to build a 112-story skyscraper near Seoul Airport by approving a plan to relocate the airport’s runway and rewrite the military installation’s operations plans.
The Defense Ministry said regulations were not eased in the areas near air bases in Sesan, Gunsan, Gimhae and Pyeongtaek because they are located on flatlands. The areas near Wonju air base will also not benefit from the new regulations because of the installation’s tactical capabilities.
By Ser Myo-ja [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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