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Public road built over private land

A resident of Yong Kang, Tainan County complained about a public road built over his private land without obtaining his permission. The Control Yuan launched an investigation and found multiple administrative errors by Yong Kang City Government (now Yong Kang District Office). (Case no. 0980800583)

In 2000, a deviation during the construction for a new system interchange eschewed privately owned land. Instead of double-checking the boundaries, road center stake and areas of land expropriation, the Yong Kang City Government (hereinafter “City Government”) brought in police forces to assist the construction company in carrying out the work, despite opposition from the land owner. The construction company proceeded to remove earth volume, deform the original terrain, surface pavement, and plants, and install asphalt, street lamps, traffic signs, sewage and other underground pipelines, resulting in a drop height between 68 and 95 centimeters. The landowner had to install a set of stairs or concrete slope to be able to access the land. The media falsely portrayed the landowner as an unruly citizen who obstructed public construction. For many years, the complainant applied for a public review of his case, including re-examining land boundaries, reapplying for land expropriation or ownership transfer, and even gauging the possibility of regaining full ownership and use of the land, to no avail. The Control Yuan’s investigation found negligence by the Yong Kang Land Office (hereinafter “Land Office”). The Land Office’s inaccurate survey failed to include the complainant’s land in the land expropriation. A negotiation was held between the City Government and the complainant. Unfortunately, it fell through because the two sides disagreed on the price. Eventually, the case was brought to the Tainan District Court and a complaint was lodged with the Control Yuan.

The Control Yuan proposed corrective measures for the Land Office and City Government. As the local authority, the City Government is required to optimize the use of the road as legally permissible while upholding the land owner’s rights. Returning ownership of a portion of the road will do a disservice to the general road users in terms of safety and convenience. As such, the Control Yuan (CY) has requested the City Government obtain ownership of the road via legal means, despite Tainan District Court’s ruling that demanded the land be returned to the complainant. At the CY’s request, the Tainan Country Government has stepped up its effort in digitizing cadastres, while the City Government has coordinated agencies responsible for urban planning to re-inspect stake positions and seek support from local councilors to set aside funding for land expropriation. The City Government has promised to exercise extra caution in verifying boundaries when building roads over questionable areas.