With respect to the “backdoor” for national development projects of the Spatial Planning Act (SPA) as claimed by civil groups on February 26, and their petition for a SPA review report and defining the extension length, the Ministry of the Interior explained that the scope and determination procedures of national development projects will be stipulated in related SPA bylaws and regulations, and the local spatial plan will be accelerated according to the current statutory timeframe. However, extension will be considered with reference to the status of implementation of individual local spatial plan.
Resolving local problems with pragmatic spatial planning
The MOI emphasizes, pragmatic spatial planning should be made to help local governments resolve future development problems. Instead of a barrier, SPA aims to help local governments revolve local problems and guide orderly local development. This is the basic principle of spatial planning. Facing the distrust from the public, the MOI will proactively communicate with the legislature to enhance the discussion on the scope of national development projects, local spatial plans, and the time-limit for functional zone demarcation or to enact related bylaws and regulations to implement spatial plans steadily and reliably.
Scopes and determination procedures of national development plans assessed for non-industrial development
According to the MOI, instead of industrial development, national development projects are comprehensive, covering water resources, environmental protection, energy, transportation, agriculture, and so on. In addition, the contents of national development projects as specified in subparagraph 3, paragraph 3, Article 15, SPA, after promulgation and implementation, national spatial plans should be timely reviewed and amended when “national defense or important public facilities or a national development project is deemed necessary”, without considering projects promoted by the “private sector” in collaboration with government policies. In addition, take the “Greater South Project” currently under planning by the Executive Yuan for example, the project emphases on “settlement-based development” to integrate ministerial resources based on the existing feature settlements to assist with local re-development. However, as the contents have not yet decided, local spatial plans in the southern region have not yet been included in this master project. If timely review and amendment are unachieved, local governments will have difficulties in coping with the master projects.
The MOI emphasizes, a planning time-limit and statutory procedures for implementation are required for a comprehensive review. Take urban planning for example, it takes about 6-7 years to complete one project on average. The present SPA amendment gives more flexibility for the government to address international pollical and economic changes and make long-term national development. As the amendment also aims to prevent flipping properties through national development projects, related civil groups suggested the government define the scope and the determination procedures (including public participation and information disclosure) of “national development projects”. The discussion of both parts will be enhanced when the bill is sent to the legislature for discussion. Or, they will be included in the SPA enforcement rules and other related laws and regulations.
Accelerating local spatial plans and reasonable time for functional zoning
According to the MOI, Article 45 is amended to adjust the schedule of local spatial plans. After SPA implementation, the MOI has been guiding local governments to draw up local spatial plans through administrative acts and funding. However, only six counties and cities have submitted their plans to MOI for elevation so far. If other counties and cities fail to submit their plans faster, promulgation and implementation will not be completed by the time-limit. As the functional zone mapping in the next stage involves the adjustment of the functional zone boundary and the private property of civilians and requires more complicated work and a longer time for communication, reasonable time should be given for local governments to resolve related problems. Therefore, local spatial planning and functional zoning are accelerated according to the existing statutory time-frame. However, the need for extension will be assessed carefully based on the progress of individual local spatial plans or stipulated, where necessary, in related SPA bylaws and regulations to make the planning and related statutory procedures of spatial planning more complete.