Shida Night Market shops prepare litigation against city government

The China Post news staff

Some restaurant and store operators at the Shida Night Market near Shida Road in Taipei said yesterday that they plan to take legal actions against the Taipei City Government for first promoting business activities at the night market and then harshly cracking down on their operations. In an extension of the controversies between the businesspeople and residents in the area, nine store and restaurant owners said they have retained a lawyer with a plan to appeal the city government’s fine of NT$60,000 each and their order to halt business operations. They also plan to file administrative litigation against the city government’s acts. The city government had formerly encouraged business operations at the district in order to promote the night market as a tourism spot to attract visitors and travelers. Officials at the municipal government, however, did an about-face to shut down their business, they said. They said they have significantly improved the noise and sanitation problems after residents in the neighborhood filed formal complaints. The city government should help the business operators and residents to engage in further communications to iron out differences instead of taking one-sided action against them, they said. They stressed that they are willing to hear the demands from the residents and comply.

But representatives of residents living in the area supported the actions taken by the city government, emphasizing that the district has long been designated as a “cultural and educational region” in accordance with the zoning code because of its proximity to Shida and other cultural institutions, they said. The residents claims that all they want is to restore peace and serenity in a cultural environment by eliminating the bustling cacophony, loud noises by late night customers, and foul smells of cooked dishes or barbecues that always permeate the air day and night. It would be unfair for the residents to allow profit-seeking businesses to earn money while deteriorating the quality of life for the original inhabitants in the district, they said. The city government showed no signs of giving in to the renewed pressure and the threat of litigation.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Wen-hsiung said the city government respects everyone’s right to take proper actions they see fit if they think they are being treated unfairly or feel their rights have been compromised.