Under the Urban Renewal Authority Ordinance ( Cap. 563 of the Laws of Hong Kong), the URA may implement a project by way of a development project or a development scheme.
If, in accordance with the Town Planning Ordinance ( Cap. 131 of the Laws of Hong Kong), amendment of the land use indicated in the Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) is not required, the URA can implement the project as a “development project”.
If the project area is sizable and an amendment to the land use zoning indicated in the OZP is required, the URA can implement the project by means of a “development scheme”.
Since the OZP has to be amended, the URA has to submit a draft plan to the Town Planning Board. After a hearing, the URA considers their presentations and comments received in respect of the draft plan, and submits a draft plan or amended draft plan to the Chief Executive in Council for approval.
A. Publication of development projects and development schemes
Upon the implementation of a URA initiated or “demand-led” project, the URA must publish in each issue of the Gazette within two months, and once a week during the publication period in a Chinese language and an English language local newspaper, a notice of the commencement date of the implementation of the project, together with a summary of the project information (a description of the general nature and effects of the project), and the times and places where information on the project will be exhibited and available for public inspection.
B. Objections and appeals
The commencement date of the development project is published in the Gazette, and information on the development project is made available for public inspection for a period of two months (the publication period).
Within the publication period, any person who considers that he will be affected by the development project may send to the URA a written statement of his objections to the project.
The URA then submits the project, the URA’s deliberation on the objection, the objections which have not been withdrawn, and an assessment to the Secretary for Development for consideration no later than three months after the expiration of the publication period.
The Secretary for Development then considers the development project and any objections which have not been withdrawn, and can decide to: (1) authorize the URA to proceed with the development project without any amendment; (2) make an amendment to the development project to meet an objection; or (3) decline to authorize the development project.
If the Secretary for Development authorizes the URA to proceed with a development project, he orders the URA to publish in the Gazette a notice of authorisation of the project, together with a summary of the description of the general nature and effects of the project, and a plan delineating the boundaries of the project.
If the Secretary for Development makes an amendment to a development project to meet an objection, he orders the URA to publish in the Gazette notice of the amendment to the development project. If the amendment appears to the Secretary for Development to affect any land other than that of the objector, the Secretary for Development serves notice in writing of the amendment on the owner of the other land, or gives notice by advertisement or other means he deems desirable and practicable to inform the owner of the other land of the amendment.
If the owner of the other land wishes to object to the amendment made by the Secretary for Development, he must send to the Secretary for Development a written statement of that objection within-
- 14 days in the case of an owner of the land included in the original development project; or
- two months in the case of an owner of the land affected by an amendment made by the Secretary for Development which was not included in the original development project.
If the Secretary for Development declines to authorise a development project, he orders the URA to publish in the Gazette a notice of withdrawal of the project, and he gives written notice of that decision to the owner of the land, or gives notice by advertisement or other means the URA deems desirable and practicable to inform the owner of the land of the decision.
An aggrieved objector to the decision of the Secretary for Development can appeal to an independent Appeal Board. The Appeal Board Panel may confirm, reverse or change the appealed decision of the Secretary for Development.
Objections will be considered under the Town Planning Ordinance (TPO). Objections can be made to the Town Planning Board (TPB) when the TPB publishes in the Gazette notice of the URA development scheme. The TPB will then consider the related objections.
For details, please refer to Town Planning Board Guidelines No. 29B .
C. Acquisition price
The URA will offer an owner-occupier of domestic property the market value (valued on a vacant-possession basis) of his property plus an ex-gratia allowance, namely Home Purchase Allowance (“HPA”), for the purchase of the property.
The HPA is the difference between the market value of the property being acquired and the value of a notional replacement flat, which is a seven-year-old flat of similar size and in a similar locality to the property being acquired, and located on a middle floor with average orientation.
An owner who leaves his property vacant will be offered the market value (valued on vacant possession basis) of his property plus a Supplementary Allowance (“SA”) instead of the HPA. The SA is a percentage of the HPA.
If an owner does not reside in his property as his sole residence, the occupancy status of his property will be treated as being vacant.
D. Freezing survey
The occupation status of the property at the date of the freezing survey is used by the URA to determine whether the owner is entitled to a HPA or SA, so the URA conducts a freezing survey on the date on which a project commences.
Any change in the occupation status of the property after the freezing survey does not affect the amount of allowance payable to the owner. Hence, even if the owner evicts the tenants from the property between the time of the freezing survey and the time of the completion of property acquisition by the URA and becomes an owner-occupier, he will not receive a higher allowance.