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Old March 7th, 2006, 12:35 PM   #21
citypia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Central Government, Seoul City Lock Horns Over Lotte's Skyscraper Plan
2 March 2006
Korea Times
By Jung Sung-ki

The central government and the Seoul metropolitan administration are in a collision course over a thorny issue regarding Lotte Group's skyscraper plan.

The long-standing squabble erupted again when the Seoul metropolitan government gave the green light on Feb. 22 to Lotte's controversial project to build a 112-story amusement park in Chamsil, southern Seoul, while the Air Force vehemently opposed it due to flight safety concerns.

Apparently in favor of the conglomerate, the city administration's urban planning committee said it found no legal grounds to force Lotte to lower the height of the tower under the current law.

Lotte initiated the $1-billion project to construct the tower, which is 1,820 feet (555 meters) high, in the early 1990s in one of the most thriving towns in Chamsil, southern Seoul.

However, the military and related government agencies, including the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, are concerned with the plan.

They said it could lead to a potential ``air disaster,'' as the building's height is beyond the safety flight zone of 666 feet for a ``blind flight.'' (A blind flight occurs when pilots fly on instruments if their vision is obscured by bad weather or in an emergency situation.)

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung expressed strong objections to Seoul City's decision, urging the local government and Lotte to review the amusement park plan.

``Since the inauguration of the Roh Moo-hyun administration, we, the military, have made many concessions to protect people's property rights, including the massive removal of military protection zones,'' Yoon said.

``But we cannot and will not compromise on the matter this time, as it is directly related to public safety. If a fatal accident happens, whom do you think the people will blame and hold responsible? It will be the central government and military,'' he stressed.

The minister called on the municipal government and Lotte to accept its proposal to carry out a joint investigation of the security problem concerning the building project.

He cited the international air safety regulations adopted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) which concluded that the project is highly vulnerable to the possibility of aircraft flown on instruments crashing into the high-rise building.

Yoon described the construction of the amusement park in the safety control space of Seoul Airport in Songnam, south of Seoul, as a major security concern, noting that the South Korean president and foreign heads of state visit the country through the military airport.

Lotte, however, has argued that the central government's push to disrupt its skyscraper plan absolutely infringes upon individual's property rights.

``We can't accept the demand, although we can consider minor design changes in the construction plan as advised by the FAA,'' a Lotte executive said on condition of anonymity.

Air Force officers said they are considering taking the issue to the Office for Government Policy Coordination to seek administrative arbitration and means of making it a court issue.
Anticipated response from the Ministry of National Defense.
But there is no legal grounds to force Lotte to lower the height of the tower under the current law.
and Lotte will force their way through the enemy's line.
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