The National Audit Office has decided to investigate the ‘Gogi-dong Silver Town’ project, which was suspected of preferential treatment during the licensing process.
The National Audit Office decides to investigate ‘Suspected preferential treatment in Gogi-dong Silver Town’
The National Audit Office. Yonhap News
On the 4th, according to the National Audit Office and residents of Gogi-dong, Yongin-si, the audit office sent a letter to residents of Gogi-dong on the 26th of last month, revealing that it had decided to conduct an ‘audit’ related to ‘irregularities in the process of approval of the implementation plan and building permit consultation’ for the Gogi-dong Silver Town project.
However, it added, “The decision to conduct an audit does not mean that the illegality or unfairness of the institution’s business processing subject to the audit claim has been confirmed.” “We decided to conduct an audit because it is necessary to confirm and review the claim through the audit process.”
However, the National Audit Office ‘closed’ the remaining six issues raised by the residents of Gogi-dong because the deadline of five years had passed.
Previously, in December last year, residents of Gogi-dong filed a complaint alleging: “Suspicion of preferential urban management plan decisions for unqualified businesses,” “Poor deliberation and abuse of authority by the Urban Planning Commission,” “Illegalities and corruption by Yongin City in the process of planning approval and building permits, They requested a public interest audit on seven issues, including whether there were any illegal acts in the approval process, such as illegal extension of the construction period and failure to take action against violations of the building permit period; failure to implement the building permit condition of “installing a bypass road for construction vehicles”; Yongin’s lack of management supervision and failure to take action against deviations in the financial behaviour of the developer; and other illegal irregularities by Yongin City.
As the audit will be conducted on irregularities in the planning approval and building permit consultation process, which is the core of the suspicion of preferential treatment, it is expected that the audit will reveal the background in which the interests of operators were prioritised over the purpose of senior welfare housing, which is residential stability for the elderly.
A resident of Gogi-dong, who requested the audit, said, “It is unfortunate that only one of the seven claims was accepted, but it is good that the audit was conducted on the core issue of the ties between Yongin City and the operator.” “I hope that Yongin City will take the initiative to reveal the parts that were closed by the auditor after the claim deadline.”
Yongin City plans to follow up on the audit results as soon as they come out.
An official from Yongin said, “The residents of Gogi-dong are insisting on a blanket cancellation, but we cannot hastily decide to cancel the project without the results of the audit.” “If administrative problems are revealed, we will seek ways to correct them,” he said.
Licence granted a day before law revision…Yongin City-Developer ties suspected
Courtesy of Smart Image
According to a CBS News report, construction company Siwon submitted a business plan to Yongin City in September 2010 to develop Silver Town, a 559-unit, eight-story building on 196,400 square metres in Gogi-dong. The plan includes 265 units (47 per cent) for sale and 294 units (53 per cent) for rent. It also included the construction of a nursing home with a gross floor area of 11,000 square metres.
However, on 30 June 2014, Yongin City abolished the ‘Planning Standards for Social Welfare Facilities (Paid Senior Welfare Housing) among Urban Planning Facilities메이저놀이터‘, which requires that the number of units for sale be no more than 50% and that facilities for public purposes (medical facilities, sports facilities, convenience facilities, etc.) be at least 20% of the gross floor area of the residential part.
As a result, on 28 May 2015, through a change in the building permit, Gogi-dong Silver Town was raised to 15 floors, and the number of units increased by more than 400 to 969. The nursing home, on the other hand, was converted into a 649 sqm medical support facility (nurses’ station for residents).
In particular, the city of Yongin granted both planning approval and building permits a day ahead of the implementation of the amendment to the Elderly Welfare Act, which prohibits the sale of silver towns. (Related article:[Exclusive] Yongin Gogi-dong ‘Silver Town’ disguised as a welfare facility…suspicious approval)
Suspicions have also been raised that a major property developer was influential in the process.
In April 2015, just before the business plan was changed, DSD Samho, a leading property developer, entered the business by signing a contract to purchase the Silver Town business rights from Sool for 4 billion won.
The stalled project then began to take off, and Samho became the de facto owner by purchasing 72 per cent of the company’s shares from 2020 to 2021. (Related:[Exclusive] ‘Suspected of preferential treatment’ Yongin Silver Town… Shadow of ‘bribery’ developer)
In response, residents of Gogi-dong have raised suspicions of preferential treatment, saying, “Siwon is a small company that does not have the capacity to carry out large-scale projects,” and that it was given preferential treatment because of the power of Samho, which has steadily built a relationship with the city of Yongin.