The construction site of a new apartment building in Incheon Geomdan New Town seen from Jangneung in Gimpo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  (Maekyung DB)
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Preparing to move into the ‘Wangneung View’ apartment… There is no way to stop the Cultural Heritage Administration

The construction site of a new apartment building in Incheon Geomdan New Town seen from Jangneung in Gimpo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Maekyung DB)

Three new and controversial apartment complexes in Geomdan New Town, Seo-gu, Incheon, built near Jangneung in Gimpo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will begin moving in as early as June. It is predicted that it will be virtually impossible to demolish the apartment if the occupancy is made before the court’s decision is made while the litigation is ongoing over the violation of the Cultural Heritage Protection Act.

According to the industry, in Geomdan New Town, starting with Yemiji Triple Edu (construction Golden Swan, completion rate 94%) at the end of June, Daegwang Rojevian (Daegwang Kunyeong, 99%) in July, Dietre Edufore Hill (Daebang Construction, 77) %) start moving in one after another. These apartments are currently in the midst of final construction such as landscaping, and they plan to apply to the Incheon Seo-gu Office for the last step before approval for occupancy in the near future, ‘use inspection’. The use inspection is a procedure by which local governments check whether there are any problems even if they live in an apartment building. The municipality must notify the result within 15 days of receiving the usage inspection.

The reason construction companies speed up construction is interpreted as considering the fact that even if the Cultural Heritage Administration wins, it will be difficult to demolish once occupancy begins.

Earlier, in July of last year, the Cultural Heritage Administration ordered construction companies to stop construction, saying they did not receive prior deliberation while building apartments with the scenery of Jangneung in the historical and cultural environment preservation area. According to the revision of the Cultural Heritage Protection Act in 2017, the Cultural Heritage Administration has designated a 500-meter radius of cultural heritage as a ‘historical and cultural environment preservation area’. If the height of the building exceeds 20m, it must be reviewed by the Cultural Heritage Administration. The Cultural Heritage Administration notified the city of Gimpo, where the Jangneung is located, by posting it in the official gazette, but did not notify the city of Incheon within a 500m radius. Construction companies say they are carrying out construction legally with the approval of the local government before the amendment of the law.

Construction companies filed a lawsuit over the cancellation of the construction suspension order, saying they could not accept the Cultural Heritage Administration’s recommendation to demolish some buildings. The court ruled in favor of the construction company in the first and second trial, saying that it would protect the people who received the sale, and construction resumed. The Cultural Heritage Administration filed a second appeal against the decision to suspend execution in December last year, and is awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision.

It is expected that it will take a considerable amount of time before the final conclusion of the lawsuit on the main issue, which decides whether to dismantle the apartment building and violation of the Cultural Heritage Protection Act, is reached. However, even if the Cultural Heritage Administration wins here, it is expected that it will be virtually impossible to forcibly evict residents if they have already moved in. In response, the Cultural Heritage Administration recently sent an official letter requesting cooperation to the Incheon Seo-gu Office asking them to suspend the use inspection, but the Seo-gu Office said that there was no way to forcibly block the occupancy until the result of the lawsuit is released.

Meanwhile, Gimpo Jangneung is the tomb of King Wonjong (1580-1619), the father of King Injo of the Joseon Dynasty, and his wife, Queen Inheon (1578-1626). Gimpo Jangneung is designated as Historic Site No. 202, and it is included in the 40 royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty that were collectively registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.

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Reference-www.mk.co.kr

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