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Provincial City Sets Biz-Friendly Model

Posted March. 26, 2008 03:03,   


Application to approval took just two hours and four minutes, instead of the usual 15 months. In the authorization section, the name of the mayor showed up first, followed by the deputy mayor and other officials.

The northern Seoul suburb of Paul quickly processed Ewha Womans University’s application to build a campus in the city, attesting to how dramatically deregulation can expedite red tape that would have delayed the process by years.

The university’s Paju campus will be set up on near Camp Edwards, an American military base on the city’s outskirts.

Before, schools had to go through numerous additional procedures, ending up in a 15-month process to break ground. For example, a school had to wait three months after filing an application until the city approved the new zoning plan. Then another year would have been needed to assess environmental and other assessments.

This time, however, Paju moved ahead way before the filing by keeping close contact with the school. City authorities did not want to kill a project that would significantly contribute to its economy. Thus, they curtailed red tape to put the process on the fast track.

Paju ironed out details with central government agencies over the past year when the Public Administration and Security Ministry was screening how Camp Edwards might be used in the future.

The city’s efforts started in 2006, when the school and Paju signed a memorandum of understanding. After execution of the agreement, the city organized a taskforce and then the two sides checked progress by holding biweekly working-level meetings.

The city notified the public of the details of the approved project around 3:30 p.m. yesterday, on the condition that follow-up legal requirements be satisfied in the course of the project.

Due to the unprecedented effort, Ewha became eligible to purchase land yesterday instead of the 15 months normally required. The situation was a win-win for both sides: Ewha got the land while the city helped its economy.

This is seen as a model of a business-friendly administration. When public workers roll up sleeves, they can create miracles and attract more corporations to the provinces.