U.S. QUESTIONS GUAM USE OF FORMER MILITARY LAND

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By Gerardo R. Partido

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Nov. 8) – The federal government has expressed concern over the turnover of properties in the former Naval Air Station in Tiyan to their original landowners, saying that this could be a breach of the original agreement that turned over NAS to the government of Guam.

The Federal Highway Administration has already informed the Department of Public Works that GovGuam may be in violation of the terms of the NAS turnover agreement by awarding properties intended for use as a roadway that would be financed by federal funding.

The former site of the sprawling Naval Air Station was turned over to the government of Guam in 1995 after the military, at the time, decided to downsize its presence on Guam.

Since then, Tiyan has been used by GovGuam for office space as well as for facilities needed by the Guam airport and the Federal Aviation Administration.

At the same time, GovGuam also approved a policy returning the Tiyan properties to their original owners or their descendants.

With the return of the properties, however, a roadway project called the Tiyan Parkway being planned by DPW using Federal Highway Administration funds may be affected because some of the areas allotted for the roadway have already been turned over to their original owners.

Since this project was one of the conditions attached to the turnover of NAS, the federal government could invoke a "reversionary clause" in the NAS turnover agreement and take over the Tiyan properties once more.

DPW, which has reserved comment on the matter, said it is still studying all the pertinent documents but assured that the situation has not yet reached the point wherein a federal takeover of Tiyan would be imminent.

The Tiyan Parkway, is a proposed roadway that would connect Route 8 to Route 10A, and serve as an alternative route to Marine Corps Drive. The project is part of the Tiyan Land Reuse Plan and is intended to help decongest Marine Corps Drive, the island’s main thoroughfare.

The Legislature already plans to hold roundtable meetings to help shed more light on the issue.

November 8, 2005

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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