Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande are very pleased with the Navy’s recent decision to suspend any actions concerning moving civilians onto the weapons depot and to negotiate a buyout with the developer of the Laurelwood Housing Area in good faith.
Today it was announced that the Navy has reversed its decision to allow civilians to move into the 300-unit housing development, formerly used to house military families, that resides within the boundaries of Naval Weapons Stations Earle.
“We’ve been working on this for such a long time,” said Casagrande, “and it is truly gratifying to see that the Navy is finally coming around. Our end goal has always been making sure that unvetted civilians did not have unhindered access onto the property at Earle. Myself, Senator Beck and Assemblyman O’Scanlon have made every effort at the State level to stop this from taking place, because we have believed all along that it was a risky plan. Of course Congressman Chris Smith also deserves quite a bit of credit, having made this one of his personal causes.”
“From the time I was elected to office,” said O’Scanlon, “the plan for civilians to live on Earle has been of great concern to me, as well as my constituents. Allowing an influx of 300 new civilian families into the area, and all that entails, is a great burden to place on municipalities which are already having to make difficult decisions in the face of a dire economic forecast. We are talking about serious financial and security risks. I’m glad to see that the Navy may finally be recognizing the importance of keeping civilians away from such a sensitive area.”
“We hope that today’s announcement means that the Navy is taking our security concerns seriously and admitting that this is a flawed plan,” said Beck, “It is important that they are willing to take the necessary steps to make sure that civilian housing is never permitted on a military base such as this. The contract that the Navy signed with the developer states that it must provide unimpeded access to the very heart of the largest ammunitions depot on the East Coast for the civilians who would be renting these homes. This was a bad plan from the start and it is about time the Navy took heed of what officials at all levels of government have said about the many potential security problems it could bring.”
In 1988, the Navy signed a contract with a developer to build 300 housing units on NWS Earle for use as military housing, the ownership of which would be retained by the developer while receiving an annual lease payment from the Navy, with the caveat that in April 2010 the property would revert back to the developer to rent.