Saturday, August 22, 2009

Red Bank Hub: NOPE continues opposition

The Hub story is nice publicity, but flawed in a few ways, namely that NOPE encourages the Navy to exercise its contractual right to void the Laurelwood housing contract, which it says it will not do (why, we do not know). With this in mind, we recommend the Navy meet Seattle-based developer Teri Fischer halfway and work toward an amicable buyout to make this housing debacle and security threat disappear - basically, put Navy and local resident interests ahead of those of a housing developer 3,000 miles away.

Be clear...NOPE in no way is a mouthpiece for the developer, Seattle-based Teri Fischer, nor will we ever be, and in fact we'd feel no remorse if her company walked away without a cent on the outlease portion of the contract (i.e. the civilian residency clause that runs from September 2010 to 2040). Her company has already netted some $75 million of rental payments from the Navy since 1990. THAT very clear assertion was left out of the Hub story. We continue to make clear that the Navy would be well within its rights to void the deal under grounds of a declared national emergency, as stated in the contract. (Anyone seeking a copy of the full contract can email us at or post an email address in the comment section below; we'd be happy to forward it to you after having obtained it through open public records acts.)

Otherwise, the Hub story slants heavily toward the school issue and contains some misinformation. Simply, NOPE's stance is that NO TOWN in the surrounding area should ever educate a single civilian occupant that might live at Laurelwood...period! We sense that what could end up happening (and it seems a few politicians are leaning toward this in the event civilians ever live at Laurelwood) is that the Monmouth County Superintendent could split the kids among many surrounding districts (i.e. each district within 10-15 miles of Earle takes 30-50 kids to "soften the blow"). BOEs and school superintendents outside Colts Neck and Tinton Falls should be paying close attention to this issue, and call their state legislators to question their leaders on this issue and discourage such a notion.

The essential piece of the overall Laurelwood housing story, which is buried in the Hub piece and that no one in the commercial media seems to recognize or care to explore, is the Laurelwood contract itself and how the U.S. Navy (read: not NWS Earle commanding officer, Captain Maynard, or anyone working at the base, but a much higher decision-maker within the Navy ranks in Washington, D.C.) has put its Monmouth County neighbors in jeopardy on account of a short-sighted contract and mulish thinking. Our interpretation is that Contract Amendment No. 43 signed in 2002 sends the parties (the Navy and Laurelwood Homes, LLC) to buyout negotiations by default if the Navy fails to comply with the April 30, 2010 deadline to clear the planned 1.7-mile access route to the homes. And the bottom line is that some high-ranking official or Navy number cruncher, seemingly with no clue or interest about the impact to our communities, is going to severely compromise the mission at NWS Earle by inviting civilians to live on its otherwise secure grounds. Preposterous...

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