Friday, May 29, 2009

APP: Colts Neck OKs suing Navy over housing

Good morning, NOPE supporters!

The U.S. Navy's Record of Decision on Laurelwood housing has set in motion a chain reaction that is sure to draw greater attention to this issue, which NOPE suggests the Navy is not looking for, namely since we've argued all along that a key component of NWS Earle's built-in defense is the relative anonymity of the base. That is, we really do not have a grasp of how significant an installation we're residing near, nor do most people who drive by on Rt. 34, 36 or along Normandy Road.

This morning's Asbury Park Press story by Nina Rizzo, who has so professionally tracked this story, brings to light Colts Neck's move to pursue litigation against the Navy in an effort to stop the planned civilian housing project at Earle. The question now becomes whether Tinton Falls, or other Monmouth County municipalities or boroughs - or the County or State itself, join the suit or file actions of their own. The story, however, is unclear of the parameters of the lawsuit, though we will share them once we have details or (hopefully) a copy of it.

More interestingly, perhaps, and somewhat underplayed in Nina's story this morning brings to light a press release NOPE issued May 12, 2009, where we pick apart an extremely interesting supplement (Supplemental Agreement No. 43, signed in 2002) to the original 1980s-era Laurelwood lease that seemed to a) give away the Navy's right to terminate the lease under National Emergency Termination clauses and b) could obligate the Navy to $20 million of payments to Laurelwood beyond 2010, assuming Mrs. Fischer is unable to occupy the homes w/civilian tenants. This runs counter to the Navy's argument that rental payments will end in 2010. We'll try to include a link to that Press Release - and the actual Laurelwood contract itself - in the days to follow.

By the way, as NOPE argued in its original business case published in November 2008 and available for download from the main page of our website, it would probably cost the U.S. Navy/federal government no more than $20 million to buy out the contract, especially when considering the costs that will go into creating the access route, Mrs. Fischer's renovation and upkeep of the property for the next 31 years, and the costs of a required teardown in 2040. Yes, the contract specifies the Laurelwood homes must be town down by 2040 (and the land restored to its original a wetland, mind you).

Stay tuned.

No comments: