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Developers refuse to change plans to build high-rises near UNESCO-listed royal tomb

An apartment complex in Geomdan, Incheon, is visible through the tops of the trees across from the royal tomb Jangneung, in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. (CHA)
An apartment complex in Geomdan, Incheon, is visible through the tops of the trees across from the royal tomb Jangneung, in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. (CHA)


Daebang Construction on Thursday said it would no longer seek the Cultural Heritage Administration’s approval to build a high-rise apartment complex near the UNESCO-listed royal tomb Jangneung in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province.

To better protect the scenery of the tomb site, the CHA had ordered a suspension of construction, and asked Daebang Construction to submit new building plans that would lower the height of the new apartments.

Daebang Construction is now refusing to submit any modified plans for a CHA approval, as two other developers who had also been building apartments at the site won a court approval to restart construction.

The CHA had earlier ordered the suspension, arguing that Daebang Construction, along with the two other firms -- Daekwang Construction and Kumsung BaekJoe Construction -- did not seek prior permission from the CHA to build there.

According to CHA’s law that was revised in 2017, the building of any structure over 20 meters tall within 500 meters of a designated cultural property requires permission.

The three developers protested against the suspension order, saying that they had received permission from the city in 2014, before the law revision.

Developers have come under increasing pressure to resume construction of the apartment blocks in Geomdan, a new town in Incheon, as over 3,000 households were scheduled to move in next year.

Instead of submitting improved plans the CHA was asking for, Daekwang Construction and Kumsung BaekJoe Construction on Dec. 8 decided to take the matter to the court. On Dec. 10, a Seoul court ruled in favor of these two construction companies to allow the construction to continue. The state agency has sought to appeal the ruling.

The tomb houses the parents of King Injo, the 16th ruler of the Joseon era. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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