A well-known apparel company in Hayama Town is in big trouble with local residents over the construction of a resort hotel. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A well-known apparel company in Hayama Town is in big trouble with local residents over the construction of a resort hotel.

Opposition to a scenic area associated with the Imperial Family has been stirring up.

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The planned construction site for the resort hotel. It is located in a residential area, and on the day FRIDAY visited, construction vehicles were coming and going several times.

The construction of a hotel by a famous apparel brand in the vicinity of the Hayama Imperial Villa (Kanagawa Prefecture), famous as a vacation home for the Imperial Family, has caused anger and trouble among residents.

The company behind the development of a resort hotel with three floors above ground and one below is Tomorrowland Corporation, which operates more than 130 stores throughout Japan.

However, there have been protests by residents over its construction. In November 2009, 170 residents of the neighborhood submitted a petition against the project to Tomorrowland and the Hayama Town Hall. In February of this year, a request for review was submitted to the Kanagawa Prefecture Development Review Board, requesting the cancellation of the development permit, and in May, a meeting was held between the mayor of Hayama Town and the residents.

Why are the residents so adamantly opposed to the construction? Mr. A, a participant in the movement, explains.

The biggest problem is that it violates the “City Planning Law” set by the government. In Kanagawa Prefecture, if the development area is 1,000 m2 or larger, the road connecting the building to a prefectural road or other major road must be at least 4 m wide. The hotel’s development area is approximately 2,200 m2, but there are several areas where the actual measurement shows that the width is less than 4 m.

In addition, the “Town Development Ordinance” set by the town of Hayama stipulates that the width of the road should be 6m or more in order to maintain the landscape and for safety reasons. Due to the construction, on a high day, as many as 25 large trucks pass through the road that does not meet the standard in one day, coming and going in the residential area. Although the building portion of the project is yet to be constructed, there are concerns about construction noise and other noises in the future. The impact on our lives will be huge.”

A huge hotel will open in a quiet seaside town. After its completion, residents are concerned about the scenery and the increase in trouble that will result from the rapid increase in the number of tourists.

On the other hand, Tomorrowland responded to FRIDAY by saying that they had properly completed all the procedures for the specific development project as stipulated in the Hayama Town Development Ordinance. However, there may have been problems in the process of those procedures. Mr. Hisashi Kanasaki, a member of the Hayama Town Council, revealed the following.

The report submitted to the town during the construction planning process is suspected of being falsified.” Among the documents submitted by the company to the town of Hayama in January 2010 was a document (see photo below) confirming the company’s intention to widen the road in front of the hotel site, but upon examination, several residents said they had not even been contacted by the company. Since these reports were used as the basis for approving the construction, if there are any falsehoods in them, it is a serious problem.

In response to these allegations, Tomorrowland explained that they had received answers through acquaintances and denied the allegations, saying, “There is absolutely no basis in fact. The company also said that it had been holding explanatory meetings for more than two years since December 2007, when the plan was first proposed, and that it had also taken measures such as suspending construction on Saturdays since last July in response to requests from nearby residents.

Despite continued opposition, construction work is still ongoing. Kanazaki denounced the mayor of the town, Takahito Yamanashi, for approving the project, saying that he bears a great deal of responsibility.

The mayor issued a ‘special exception approval’ and approved the project even though he knew that there were signatures against it and that the width of the road was less than 6 m. Furthermore, there are even allegations in the report. Furthermore, we are demanding an immediate response to the allegations in the report, but we have yet to receive a clear answer.

Mr. A also expressed his indignation.

In July, a water pipe was damaged on a road used by construction vehicles. The cause is unknown, but I believe it was caused by heavy trucks entering and leaving the area. If development like this goes unchecked, we may continue to see development in this town that lacks consideration for the landscape and the neighborhood. We must avoid that.”

A demonstration by residents against the project is scheduled for August. The gap between the two sides is only widening.

The “confirmation of willingness to cooperate” document submitted to the town. The document includes correspondence with residents, but the person in question testified that he was never contacted.

From the August 4, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO. Takeno Yui (1st photo)

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