Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CLTC property eyed for military buildup

By Clynt Ridgell
Published Dec 8, 2008

There's evidence of what land the military may be looking at for use with the military buildup. On Friday Governor Felix Camacho blasted the Department of Defense, the Joint Guam Program Office, and the federal government as a whole for not letting Guam leaders in on the various plans for the Guam buildup. The governor said he believes that the feds expect to use Government of Guam land, more specifically Chamorro Land Trust Commission parcels.

CLTC Administrator Joe Borja said he hasn't received an official request by the military for the potential use of CLTC property but he does have an idea of properties that federal officials may be looking to use as part of the military buildup. "The military, I believe, does have enough land for what they want to do, enough acreage but I don't believe they're in the right places so purely for planning purposes we're looking for some areas that they might be interested in," Borja said.

The administrator pointed KUAM to three areas that he believes the military may be considering. Based on his conclusions on properties that would make logical sense for military use, Borja said he expects the military will want property that they used to own after the Korean War and property that is in a large enough unused area away from residents and businesses.

Borja believes a piece of property near the NCTAMS area is a prime example of property the military would be looking at using. While the Navy owns property to the North and South of former Crown land which is now under the Ancestral Lands Commission, he said it would make sense for the military to utilize the Crown land along the northwest which is roughly around 600 acres.

Borja noted though that it's not the biggest piece of land the military may be considering. "The military through their contractor sub contractor did ask for permission to conduct a superficial survey of properties up north to see, you know, what the conditions of the property up North are, but there's been no real formal request other than their request for access to do superficial survey of properties up in the northeastern part of Guam," he stated.

The property Borja is referring to lies along with eastern coast of Guam in Land Trust property that runs from the Marbo Cave area, past the 76/Circle K Guam Raceway Park. Raceway Park owner Henry Simpson said he's actually heard similar rumors for quite some time now. "Just recently it became kind of a little bit more than a rumor as they've hired engineers and various people to go out... They're measuring how many plants and animals and things on the property so it seems like they're becoming more serious about it," Simpson explained. He said although they've begun surveying the property around the raceway park, he, too, has yet to receive any official word.

"I'm not anti-military by any means but it seems like they don't need to play their cards that close to their chest they could let the community know that they want that property give us time to plan for other areas or give us some kind of an idea you know if their gonna replace what we've built out there it would be very discouraging to see that much time and effort go to waste and all the people that have been involved in it so that bothers us," Simpson said.

The area, according to Borja, is roughly around 2,000 acres but it's not the only CLTC land this size that the military is surveying. Borja said they've also begun surveying land in the South that lies adjacent to Naval Magazine and Fena Lake. This property is mostly in the village of Talofofo and is roughly around what's known as the Babulao area. It too is roughly 2,000 acres so although it is by no means official, the military is surveying large amounts of CLTC property in the South and North.

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