Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Military housing "waterfall" policy

Following up on yesterday's posting about the possibility of the Department of Navy meeting with Colts Neck officials about supposed plans to outlease underutilized Balfour Beatty housing at NWS Earle, NOPE supporters should know at least a little about the U.S. military housing "waterfall policy." The description is footnoted in this May 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), pertaining to the challenges the Department of Defense is facing with privatized military housing (pg. 25):
DOD has established a tenant “waterfall” that (military housing) projects can use if occupancy falls below a certain rate. Generally, after military families are accommodated, the order of the tenant waterfall is unaccompanied military personnel, active National Guard and Reserve, military retirees, federal government civilians, and lastly civilians. (GAO inspectors) have been told some installation commanders have expressed reservations to private developers about having civilians living in military privatized housing, which at some installations, had resulted in the developer’s reluctance to rent to civilians that can potentially further constrain generating revenue.
To reiterate, it appears that the DoN in Washington has another quandry on its hands in terms of underutilized, privately-owned military housing at NWS Earle, and that it may look to impress upon local constituents another unfunded mandate, along the lines of what it had proposed (unsuccessfully) with privately-owned Laurelwood housingThis time around, it involves homes owned by multinational corporation Balfour Beatty; the company's website shows there are 82 Stark Road townhomes (2-4+ bedrooms), 7 Green Drive single-family homes (3-4 bedrooms each) and 40 Green Acres townhomes (2-3 bedrooms each).  However, BB's website also suggests that the company will demolish 38 of these housing units this month.

Back-of-the-envelope math suggests this will leave roughly 90 homes for occupancy, or less than half of the 2004 inventory (when, according to BB's website, the company demolished 100 homes; it is hard to extract from this data, however, whether these were mandated demolitions, i.e. homes reached the end of their 50-year useful lives, or BB realized many homes would simply lay fallow with the DoN continually shrinking the military workforce at NWS Earle).

Let's venture a guess that half of these 90 or so homes are occupied by active military or others who work inside NWS Earle. That would leave about 45 (or 90-180 bedrooms, depending on which units are vacant) to "outlease," or rent to another population. Assuming the DoN is considering letting Balfour Beatty rent the homes to non-attached military (i.e. veterans) or civilians, and that NWS Earle will process all of these people regularly (i.e. background checks, in/out of the main security gate on Rt. 34 in Colts Neck) through the duration of BB's contract, considerable strain could still be placed not only on base force protection (i.e. round-the-clock policing of an "outsider" community), but the host municipalities such as Colts Neck (i.e. municipal services) and Tinton Falls (i.e. schooling).

We would encourage our supporters to contact your municipal and state legislators (i.e. Senator Beck, Assemblyman O'Scanlon and Assemblywoman Casagrande) concerning this matter, and of course to stay tuned here as we attempt to flesh out the details, following word of a supposed Navy meeting this week with Colts Neck Township officials.

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