Since Taiwan’s retrocession, building and property issues have been very prevalent among Taiwan’s religious groups. It is the most intractable long-standing problem plaguing governmental governance of religious organizations. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, as of December 2012, there are 13,466 unregistered religious sites in Taiwan, mostly comprised of illegal buildings and land misuse. Comparing those registered and those needing to re-submit their application for formal registration yields a ratio of 55%:45% respectively; there are approximately 6,800 temples without construction permit due to illegal use of land or buildings. Some of these illegal religious buildings are located in Yangmingshan National Park, impacting negatively the urban and rural landscape of our nation.
According to a survey in 2008, among 74 temples in Yangmingshan National Park, up to 69 are illegally built. The fact that these illegal complexes lie within the national park, an eco-sensitive reserve, poses a major challenge to National Park Administration for two specific reasons: complicate regulations with numerous applicable decrees on the one hand, and involvement of different government units on the other hand. These two elements are intricately commingled, affecting effective governance and counseling services of National Park Authority.
Through field surveys and in-depth interviews, this paper collects information from case studies on religious facilities and land management issues in Yangmingshan National Park. Investigations and analysis were carried out on various aspects, such as managers, buildings and land ownership, locations, transportation, development prohibited areas, and zones for permitted conditional development.