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September 10, 2013

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Illegal rooftop pigeonry survives demolition attempts for 12 years

An illegally built two-story wooden pigeonry atop a residential building in Baoshan District has dodged demolition for 12 years, and it is still not known when it would be dismantled.

The rooftop pigeonry, with nine smaller protruding pigeonholes, was built on top of the 10-story building in 2001. Every pigeonhole is fitted with aluminum alloy windows.

“It’s hard to believe that the owner could build such a large-scale illegal pigeonry on the rooftop and get away with it,” said a neighborhood resident surnamed Li.

“Now we’ve got used to it.”

A property management official surnamed Xia said the previous owner of the apartment had built the pigeonry quickly over the weekend, when most of the management staff were off work.

“The pigeonry’s walls, roof and interior accessories were all prefabricated and the only thing they needed to do was to assemble them,” said Xia. “The owner then sold the apartment and the pigeonry to the current resident,” Xia added.

The new owner insisted that the pigeonry was not built by him, and since he paid 180,000 yuan (US$29,406) separately for it, he didn’t want to demolish it.

Another property management official surnamed Chen said they had approached the new owner several times in an effort to persuade him to pull it down but to no avail.

“In 2010, when government officials visited him, he agreed to dismantle it, but nothing of the sort happened,” Chen said.

“We can’t force him to pull it down as we don’t have the legal rights to do so.”

Chen Haibo, an officer with the Shanghai Housing Security and Administration Bureau, said forced demolition will also not be easy.

“If we forcefully try to demolish the pigeonry, we need a crane capable of lifting 25 tons, but the roads in the complex are too narrow.” Chen explained.

He said all residents also have to give their consent before any forced demolition plans can be thought off. Efforts to demolish the illegal structure has been postponed for three years.

Recently, Beijing demolished an 800-square-meter rooftop villa after the illegal structure  was reported in the media.

The oasis, on top of a 26-story building, included a man-made mound with artificial rocks, greenery and a swimming pool, leading to safety fears among the residents.



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