What is the NAS-JRB Willow Grove Redevelopment Plan?
The Redevelopment Plan for NAS-JRB Willow Grove represents a unique opportunity to establish not only a vibrant place to live, work, play and raise a family, but also centers of excellence for R & D innovation, environmental sustainability, and "green" community development. From an economic development perspective, the plan provides a framework within which a variety of corporate, business, recreational, and community opportunities can flourish. From a community development perspective, the plan promotes a strong sense of place based on smart growth principles that will serve as a model for future sustainable development throughout the region.
How will the reuse plan be developed and paid for?
The Office of Economic Adjustment (within the Department of Defense) provides federal planning grants to communities affected by base realignments or closures. This grant money has funded the work necessary to develop a redevelopment plan; including professional consulting fees. For NAS-JRB Willow Grove, the HLRA hired RKG Associates, Inc., an economic, planning and real estate consulting firm experienced in military base closures. RKG assisted the HLRA with the economic and market analysis, public outreach, development of potential reuse scenarios to develop the Redevelopment Plan that reflects Horsham' long-term goals and values to submit to the Navy.
What is the overall concept for the redevelopment plan?
The redevelopment plan is a strategic plan for the reuse of the entire installation which the HLRA must submit to the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The redevelopment plan addresses many factors, including a description of the overall redevelopment of the installation in a comprehensive and coordinated manner and describing the proposed land uses. The plan includes a description of the property and improvements and address how the plan will fit with any plans the community already has in place.
When will the Environmental Impact Statement process take place?
Before disposing of any real property, the Navy must analyze the environmental effects of the disposal action under National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). The HLRA's submission of the redevelopment plan triggers the NEPA process. The Navy's analysis will include the redevelopment plan and consider a range of reasonable disposal alternatives and assess their environmental effects. The HLRA's redevelopment plan will be given substantial deference in the final decision making process. More information on the Navy EIS is available at www.willowgroveeis.com
What is the status of the Environmental Cleanup of past Navy operations?
A comprehensive program was undertaken by the federal government to systematically investigate, clean up, and monitor environmental contamination that may have resulted from past operations at the installation. This program began in the 1980's, and is being carried out through several branches of the Navy, the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Navy is responsible for investigating and cleaning up the site pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA, 1986), the National Contingency Plan (NCP), and other federal and state laws and regulations.
The cleanup process is overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The Navy is required to ensure that the facility is investigated and cleaned up to a level that is protective of public health and the environment. Areas of the base cannot be transferred or sold for reuse until after the investigation and clean-up of these areas is completed, unless the Navy, the State and the HLRA elect to use a process known as the Early Transfer Authority (ETA).
Early Transfer Authority is designed to assist communities in expediting the reuse of a former base while ensuring that the cleanup is completed. Under ETA, property may be transferred prior to the completion of cleanup, provided the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) are satisfied that safeguards are in place to protect human health and the environment.
The Navy remains liable after the property is transferred to complete or fund the completion of the required cleanup in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. The NAS-JRB Willow Grove Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meets quarterly to update its members and the public on the status of the environmental investigations and cleanup. All meetings are open to the public.
When is the Navy relocating?
On September 15, 2011, NAS-JRB Willow Grove was officially closed. The Navy and Marine Corps squadrons/units moved to McGuire Air Force Base on March 31, 2011.
The 111th Fighter Wing of the PA Air National Guard remains at their present site along with Army Reserve and Army National Guard units on the former U.S. Air Force Reserve Center facility. The U.S. Army Reserve, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and Pennsylvania Army National Guard units are located on the approximately 200-acre base that is located near the intersection of County Line and Easton Roads. The name of the new installation will be "Horsham Air Guard Station". On September 15, 2011, NAS-JRB Willow Grove was officially closed.
Who owns the property now that base is closed?
While the military operations that were at NAS-JRB Willow Grove have been relocated, the Navy continues to own the property and is providing the necessary maintenance and security services through a caretaker agreement until the property is transferred and those responsibilities go to the new owner.
Can I rent a building at NAS-JRB Willow Grove for my business or an event?
The Navy has shut off water and sewer service to all existing buildings at the base and demolished the on-base sewage treatment plant. Thus no buildings are considered habitable. Liability issues also make the grounds unavailable for. The HLRA does not own the property; the Navy is still the owner until after the approval of the Redevelopment Plan and new owner takes possession.
Why is HUD involved in the redevelopment plan?
As part of the difficult job in adjusting the size of the U.S. Department of Defense through the BRAC process, Congress recognized the need to accommodate the impacted communities multiple interests while meeting the national priority to assist homeless individuals and families. Under the Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act of 1994, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is tasked with ensuring the redevelopment plan balances the community's expressed needs for economic redevelopment and other development with the expressed needs of the homeless individuals and families in the vicinity of the base. HUD reviews the LRA's redevelopment plan and homeless assistance submission to insure that all requirements have been met.
Per the Federal BRAC requirements, the HLRA solicited Notices of Interest (NOI) for potential homeless and public benefit conveyances of property and buildings at NAS-JRB Willow Grove. The HLRA selected the homeless providers from the NOIs received. Note that while the HLRA was required to select among the providers that submitted NOIs, the HLRA was not required to accept the NOI exactly as proposed in the NOI application. Rather, the HLRA can work with the selected homeless provider(s) to develop housing that best responds to the needs of the homeless and balances the needs of the community.
Why do the Homeless Service Providers get priority consideration of useable property in a BRAC plan?
The Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act of 1994 (Redevelopment Act) established a community-based process where representatives of the homeless and other community groups participate in local reuse planning. This Act placed the base reuse planning in the hands of a Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) who is selected by and represents all community interests. The LRA develops a reuse plan that balances the need for economic redevelopment, other development and homeless assistance. Homeless assistance providers may include State and local government agencies or private non-profit organizations that provide or propose to provide assistance to homeless persons and families. These organizations may receive base property under a no-cost homeless assistance transfer. Only those organizations that propose to serve homeless persons meeting the McKinney-Veto Act definition are eligible to receive a no-cost transfer.
Will the homeless housing include a shelter (cots in a gym) or be transitional in nature?
No, there will be no homeless shelter as part of the NAS-JRB Willow Grove redevelopment plan. The homeless housing will be permanent supportive housing, meaning there will be no time limits imposed on residency.