Friday, May 08, 2009

Tiyan Landowners Concerned About Being Trumped by the Military

Tiyan landowners concerned about getting trumped by military
By John Davis
Published May 8, 2009

Tiyan landowners have negotiated a land exchange with the government after 13 hectares was taken for use by the Guam International Airport Authority and well on their way to determining a methodology on how ancestral lands will be divided. So far, the Tiyan Land Exchange Task Force has ensured properties they are looking at have proper easements for infrastructure to be installed.

And landowners are now concerned they'll never get the land exchange because the U.S. military is also looking at using the same parcels for a firing ranges and housing areas.

At the old Federal Aviation Administration, there's over 400 acres of land the land exchange task force is already looking at plotting and dividing for landowners owed smaller and medium sized lots. Tiyan Land Exchange Task Force chairperson Benny Crawford says with military land on both southern and northern boundaries, the feds want to use the old FAA property not as a firing range, but as a housing area.

"Being a retired military myself is they're looking at this land because it's a breach on their security. It's open and they want to close that gap again and I think that's the main purpose," he explained. "An option was to put some ranges up on the Finegayan area with the safety zones extending out into the water, the feedback we got, studies revealed that that would have a potentially negative impact on the people of Guam because it extends out into recreational waters, the double reefs out there."

Those who stand to receive larger portions of land via the land exchange will have their plots in the Marbou command sea land near Anderson South where there is 390 acres of land that can be used for the land swap. The problem? Joint Guam Program Office executive forward director, David Bice says the military plans to use that property as well.

"The planners had looked on the eastern side of Andersen South, Route 15 we call it, and there is some public and some private lands over there where the safety zones go out into the rather choppy waters on the windward side there and that would have less negative impact on the people," said Bice.

Although Bice says no decisions have been made on the use of local government land for the housing area and firing ranges, Crawford says the feds are doing a pretty good job of ignoring his calls. "I don't even know if they're aware of the Tiyan landowners. I've tried to contact this guy Capt. Ruggerio, whatever his name is the public information officer they've never returned my call. I've tried to call a Master Sergeant down there they never return my call, I just want to let them know there's such a task force," he said.

Next week, Crawford will meet with Senator Ben Pangelinan, the Governor and Lt. Governor and hopefully JGPO officials to sign a resolution to set aside the ALC land for Tiyan landowners. In the meantime, landowners will meet tomorrow at the Christ Bible Fellowship building in Tamuning at 1pm.

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