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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/20/2005 12:50:58 PM EDT
Well I watched the BRAC coverage today.

IMO Virginia, Virginia Beach/Cheasapeake delegation did a poor job of convincing the commison that NAS Oceana is the right place for a master jet base. Senator Allen was a little too smug comapring numbers and was called out directly by one of the BRAC members for misrepresenting figures and had no rebuttale as he was noticeably wrong.

Comapring the Mayor of Va. Beach wioth the Mayor of Jacksonville was a joke - the Mayor of Jacksonville came prepared and his ability to speak to the issue outshined his counterpart from VA.

It is my opinion that Virginia Beach has done little over the years to be a good neighbor to the Navy when it comes to affairs dealing directly with NAS Oceana. Thier shortsightedness on approving zoning that infringed on Oceana does little help and is the primary reason NAS Oceana is on the BRAC consideration list. Does this really come as a surprise? As one BRAC member stated he apprecaietd what the mayor and city wee doing now to cease encroacing devlopment, but it's about 20 years too late.

Virginia was being called out on the need to OLF in NC, but questioned on the huge court battle over this.

Also, the Florida delegation seemed to have better Naval representation speaking on behalf of Cecil Field versus the VA delegation.

Looks to me like VA can say goodbye to Master Jet base NAS Oceana.

What say you?

Link Posted: 8/20/2005 2:54:46 PM EDT
I think Oceana was specifically targeted when they went back and added it and a few other installations to the list.

I think it's time for the master jet base to find greener pastures.
Link Posted: 8/21/2005 6:54:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2005 6:55:49 PM EDT by Hydguy]
I had to go to Oceana once to service a Harrier.

The base was pathetic.

It looks run down, and I swear that the Navy could care less about it.

BTW, it was about a 6 hour ride each way for a 5 min. job.

And it was on a weekend... The joys of being a CDI back in the day.....
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 2:24:14 AM EDT
The people of Virginia Beach don't like the base there either. They have done nothing but wine and complain about the noise and the delivery of the super hornets. Now that it looks like there might be an economic loss, the people suddenly want the base there. I grew up going to the Neptune Festival Airshow, it will be saddened to see the base close.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 10:51:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/22/2005 10:52:53 AM EDT by -Wes-]

Originally Posted By Hydguy:BTW, it was about a 6 hour ride each way for a 5 min. job.


Lol, what did you do? Change a cotter key?

I'm at AIMD Oceana right now, 5 months to go then Im out of the Navy.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 11:42:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By -Wes-:

Originally Posted By Hydguy:BTW, it was about a 6 hour ride each way for a 5 min. job.


Lol, what did you do? Change a cotter key?

I'm at AIMD Oceana right now, 5 months to go then Im out of the Navy.



I serviced the main strut with nitrogen! The strut was about an inch low....
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 7:05:23 PM EDT
That's retarded, they could have had anybody do that. Hope you had a nice drive!
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 7:08:21 PM EDT
Tag
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 7:30:15 PM EDT
We have been stationed here for 2 years and the Hampton Roads residents I have met don't seem to respect or appreciate the contributions that the Navy makes to their culture or economy. I would like to see Oceana and NAVHOSP Portsmouth close. Virginia is beautiful and full of historical significance, but in 1 more year we will be gladly transfering overseas again. At least the Italians make an effort to appreciate the US military.
Link Posted: 8/22/2005 11:35:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/22/2005 11:37:02 PM EDT by -Wes-]
I understand why. Norfolk Naval shipyard has been there for so long that the neighboring communities are just used to it.

Back home in Hawaii, we didn't appreciate the military presence either. They've always been there. Then they close down Barbers Point and we see a change in the economy. Doh!

On a side note: Whenever I go on other bases they seem so much more "base" like. Well groomed, descent roads, landscaping, housing, etc. Oceana is run down. They've made a lot of improvements, but still doesn't have that feel. Too little, too late. It's a HUGE moral factor. Gives you a sense of pride if it's more "base" like. If that made no sense nevermind, I"m half asleep. I don't understand why they closed Cecil Field down in the first place, that's where I came from with VFA-87.
Link Posted: 8/23/2005 9:10:02 AM EDT
I'm just happy BRAC is moving more jobs to Belvoir. Its just more well educated professional people (military and civilian) who will need to buy cars and houses in this area.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 8:40:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By cliffy109:
I'm just happy BRAC is moving more jobs to Belvoir.


It's still in the argument stage as to where they'll be moving my bunch. Arlington/Alexandria, etc.
are having a case of the screaming hissy-fits now that it appears that everybody is going to be
packing up and unassing the AO. CE Smith is going to shit a kitten over all that lost income!

Belvoir'd be okay with me.... we'll see.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 8:46:07 AM EDT
Do you guys honestly think this is going to happen?
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 9:07:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Va_Dinger:
Do you guys honestly think this is going to happen?


If it doesn't happen now it WILL happen in 2010 when the next BRAC round is instigated. The encroachment is too much. For too long VA BCH has taken Oceana for granted, all the while bitching about things like school systems having to take in military brats. Well, guess what? That funding Uncle Sugar gives to the community just for that purpose is going to go away, if not now within 5 to 7 years.

A good portion of the BAH, which increases yearly, will go away. Wonder what that will do to the housing market?

I had extremely good landlords and they followed the same pattern as all the rest. Raise the rent after a couple of years because BAH increased. Nevermind, that for the first couple of years I was paying out of pocket. Nevermind they promised, I didn't get it on paper, they wouldn't ever raise the rent on me. When I first moved in, they thought I was an O-1E and earning more BAH than I actually was that's why I had to pay out of pocket. You can't convince me that housing prices in that area aren't dependant on BAH.

Year after year you get "new blood" in the area making more money from BAH. So you can raise the rent/asking price. You don't see that as much in nonmilitary dominated communities. Companies relocate to save costs. The Navy has to station people where the ships and aircraft are.

Ironically, Oceana leaving will probably help out the economy. Well, except for the housing market.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 9:54:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Va_Dinger:
Do you guys honestly think this is going to happen?


If it doesn't happen now it WILL happen in 2010 when the next BRAC round is instigated. The encroachment is too much. For too long VA BCH has taken Oceana for granted, all the while bitching about things like school systems having to take in military brats. Well, guess what? That funding Uncle Sugar gives to the community just for that purpose is going to go away, if not now within 5 to 7 years.

A good portion of the BAH, which increases yearly, will go away. Wonder what that will do to the housing market?

I had extremely good landlords and they followed the same pattern as all the rest. Raise the rent after a couple of years because BAH increased. Nevermind, that for the first couple of years I was paying out of pocket. Nevermind they promised, I didn't get it on paper, they wouldn't ever raise the rent on me. When I first moved in, they thought I was an O-1E and earning more BAH than I actually was that's why I had to pay out of pocket. You can't convince me that housing prices in that area aren't dependant on BAH.

Year after year you get "new blood" in the area making more money from BAH. So you can raise the rent/asking price. You don't see that as much in nonmilitary dominated communities. Companies relocate to save costs. The Navy has to station people where the ships and aircraft are.

Ironically, Oceana leaving will probably help out the economy. Well, except for the housing market.



Dave, thanks for giving your opinion.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 10:09:06 AM EDT
Listening to C-SPAN online. It looks like BRAC is trying to force the Navy into closing Oceana, without saying close it now. One piece of testimony that was interesting was by the ex-Secretary of Transportation who said that if Oceana was a civilian airport it would be closed down due to encroachment. That was impressive, in my view.

Another piece of testimony I found interesting was the findings of the '93 BRAC. It found that Cecil Field was of greater military value than Oceana, but Oceana was left open because of logistical concerns surrounding the F-14, which of course, is rapidly being phased out of service. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw an F-14 over Va Bch.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 7:45:18 PM EDT
Someone had printed out a story at work where it stated they have post-poned the closing of Oceana.
VA Beach has until march to clean up the encroachment problem. There was a list of about 10 apartment complexes that have to go.
If the problem persists then they will shut it down and ship us back to Cecil most likely.
IIRC they have to spend 15 Million a year purchasing property around the area.

I wonder if they do succeed, how that will affect rent in the area. I doubt they'll get much done by March, we'll see.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 10:37:10 PM EDT
I did not have the opportunity to see all of the hearing today, only a portion while I crammed some food down for lunch.

I too heard the comment that is this were anything other than a military air base it would not exists as an air field due to encroachment.

I read some local follow up on this. It appears BRAC "conditionally" will allow Oceana to remain open "if " the city continues to agressively manage encroachment and infact reduces encroachment. Two additional worthwhile comments from the board members - one flatly called the recent efforts VA Beach made only a jesture to delay the closure by BRAC. The conditional portion of not closing the base is that the cities and State pay a certain amount of money each year to ease encroachment.

This is not an easy undertaking or position to be in at this point. Why? The other commnet was that NAS Oceana is not and will not be the location of the Navy's Master Jet base. Realizing that NAS Oceana will not exists as the master jet base per Navy identified requirements, why would the city pay millions each year when it is a forgone conclusion that Oceana will close within 10 years? Flatly they were advised to plan on Oceana leaveing regardless.

The BRAC cannot make the Navy do anything, however they mentioned the Navy is far behind schedule locating a suitable base for the next Master Jet Base. They feel from an approval and price perspcetive that Cecile filed may be able to fill the roll more quickly than starting from scratch so they are recommending in the strongest sense that the Navy seize this opportunity reacquire Cecil Field as the opportunity may not exist in the future.

I think the worst comment I heard was We owe it to Virginia to have one more chance. How many chances does VA Bch get? While it is nice, the one last chance is a lost cause because the Navy will claose the base.

I heard or remember that there are roughly 3600 homes encroaching on Oceana. At a value of only $250,000 each that would be $900 million the city would need to buy the properties back. This does not include the costs for moving schools or businesses so add additional money for them. I know this would mean completely solving encroachment nearst the base and it does nt guarentee the base would stay open, but it makes the case that is probably economically unviable to try to keep the base open.

Time will tell.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 4:08:20 AM EDT
IMO Va Bch would be better off to say good bye to Oceana now. Reject the $15 mil a year thing and move on. Given the amount of money they would have to spend and the length of time the Navy plans on staying, IMO, it's not even an issue. Start the economic development plans for a post Oceana VB now.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 12:52:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
The people of Virginia Beach don't like the base there either. They have done nothing but wine and complain about the noise and the delivery of the super hornets. Now that it looks like there might be an economic loss, the people suddenly want the base there. I grew up going to the Neptune Festival Airshow, it will be saddened to see the base close.



Funny, I'm in Virginia Beach and I didn't want the base to leave...but I guess I fall under your ASSumption.

A small, vocal minority want the base to leave and cried because of the noise but not "the people of Virginia Beach" like you seem to think

What people in Virginia Beach are guilty of is allowing the Mayor and her band of thugs to continue to line their own pockets, ignore the voice of the people (31st hotel), ignore the Navy's warnings (encrochment), climb into bed with developers and raise taxes to fund the very projects we've voted AGAINST.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 12:57:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
IMO Va Bch would be better off to say good bye to Oceana now. Reject the $15 mil a year thing and move on. Given the amount of money they would have to spend and the length of time the Navy plans on staying, IMO, it's not even an issue. Start the economic development plans for a post Oceana VB now.





I'm not laughing at you. Instead I'm laughing because Meyera and the city counsel has been planning on Oceana leaving for years now. They already have developers and plans arranged for the land! They've continued to ignore the Navy's warnings and they are now getting exactly what they wanted.

I only hope the people of Virginia Beach see through all the bullshit and vote their sorry-asses out at the next elections.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 5:22:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
IMO Va Bch would be better off to say good bye to Oceana now. Reject the $15 mil a year thing and move on. Given the amount of money they would have to spend and the length of time the Navy plans on staying, IMO, it's not even an issue. Start the economic development plans for a post Oceana VB now.



What M4arc said. The VB "leadership" has been licking the chops waiting for the Oceana situation to come to a head for months. While claiming to not be able to do anything about encroachment (since when has the gov't been afraid to tell people what to do?) they sit back and line the city coffers with tax money. Obendorf or whatever her name is is sitting in her office DROOLING right now, thinking about how many million dollar homes could be stuffed onto a runway, and how much money the city would make. Nevermind the loss of jobs in the city. Nevermind that the jets moving from Oceana to Florida gives Florida another good reason to lobby for a nuclear carrier to be stationed there (once JFK is gone), taking still more jobs away from Hampton Roads.

Myopic in the extreme, IMHO.

Hampton is doing the same thing with Fort Monroe. Not that Monroe is as key a cog in the big machine as Oceana, but the city council's mentality is the same. More land for development=more $$$ for the city. I think I've about had it with this area.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 5:33:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Subzero:
Nevermind that the jets moving from Oceana to Florida gives Florida another good reason to lobby for a nuclear carrier to be stationed there (once JFK is gone), taking still more jobs away from Hampton Roads.


I have to disagree with you there. If/when JFK is replaced, it will be with a CVN, that I agree. However, I don't see the Navy reducing the number of carriers. So what you would end up with is a one for one swap. Last time I was in Mayport I didn't see enough room for a second carrier. NOB is going to be the major base for the Atlantic Fleet for many decades yet to come.

What will be more interesting is when the KITTY HAWK is rotated out of service, where will the CVN be based in 7th Fleet?

I don't understand why, if VA BCH wanted Oceana gone, they fought so much to keep it? Seems to me like the mayor was playing chicken with the Navy, figuring the Navy would blink. I think she wanted her cake and to eat it too.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 8:27:39 PM EDT
-7th Fleet,
There was talk about moving a CVN to Hawaii. Not sure if that's far west enough, but in the right direction.
Link Posted: 8/25/2005 9:36:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:I have to disagree with you there. If/when JFK is replaced, it will be with a CVN, that I agree. However, I don't see the Navy reducing the number of carriers. So what you would end up with is a one for one swap. Last time I was in Mayport I didn't see enough room for a second carrier.

It can't be much harder to fit another carrier in Mayport than it was for me to find a parking spot while I was there. The basin could support one, but just finding space for the other support stuff (on top of a nuke IMA) would be tough.

As for the 7th Fleet carrier, I see Carl Vinson heading somewhere once she's refueled: Guam, Hawaii, or maybe even Japan. Not having a CVSG around at all might be enough to make the Japanese rethink their (understandable) dislike of things American and nuclear. But we can always hope for Australia...
Link Posted: 8/26/2005 3:58:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SlimHazy:
It can't be much harder to fit another carrier in Mayport than it was for me to find a parking spot while I was there. The basin could support one, but just finding space for the other support stuff (on top of a nuke IMA) would be tough.


Good point about tne nuke footprint ashore. Seems more likely that they would put an LHD down there and keep the carriers up here, from a logistics standpoint. From a strategic standpoint, I don't want all the carriers in one port.
Link Posted: 8/26/2005 5:28:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
I don't understand why, if VA BCH wanted Oceana gone, they fought so much to keep it? Seems to me like the mayor was playing chicken with the Navy, figuring the Navy would blink. I think she wanted her cake and to eat it too.



Dport, to me VaBch did not fight for it. Overall it seemed to be a faining attempt to save Oceana. Too little too late and alot of hotair talk. The VaBch mayor was gnerally ineffective during the hearing.

The only thing I heard mentioned to keep the base in VA was by Governor Warner. Warner said that if BRAC was considering re-opening of previously closed based then he would like Fort Pickett in VA considered an alternative. I have been on that base hunting when I was a kid. I don't remember an airfiled, but it could have had one. It certainly was not known as an air base. The thing that seems appealing with Pickett was the size - like 46,000 acres so it's huge and could certainly be able to hold a few runways. The depiction of Pickett did not identify any commercial airline encumerances so not sure how advantageous the base is when it comes to that.

Location wise Pickett seems plausible, I have been in Keysville and seen military aircraft. My relatives said they train out that way reguarly. Air distance Keysvilles is in good proximity to Pickett.

Outside of the casual mention by Gov,. Warner, there was no more talk on Pickett as an alternaitve to Oceana.
Link Posted: 8/26/2005 5:51:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:
I don't understand why, if VA BCH wanted Oceana gone, they fought so much to keep it? Seems to me like the mayor was playing chicken with the Navy, figuring the Navy would blink. I think she wanted her cake and to eat it too.



dport - Don't be fooled by the Mayor you see on the news. Sure she puts on a good front pretending to fight to keep Oceana but her actions (and the actions of the city counsel) have revealed the truth behind their little plan. OH...OH...OH and she really only started to put on the front when the BRAC commison mentioned something about Uncle Sam holding onto that land. If that is true then Meyera's plans for that land go straight into the shitter...the same place she can go along with Maddox and several others.

Let's put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Mayor and City Counsel. It's not the Navy's fault, it's not the BRAC it is the Mayor and City Counsel. And to a large degree its on the citizens of Va Bch for not voting them out when we knew they were screwing us; the library tax comes to mind as does the 31st referendum Ironically it's Maddox calling for a referendum on Oceana when that prick ignored the citizens when we voted against the 31st one.

What's that saying; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me?
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 10:55:41 AM EDT
Slightly O/T, but....

I also heard that Pope AFB is also slated to close. WTF, over? How in the Sam Hill is the 18th ABN Corps (namely, the 82nd ABN Div) going to get around? Is the AF planning on maintaining some rudementary faciliites at Pope to allow transport aircraft to still operate there? If not, there is a big problem. To illusttrate: When the 7th ID (Light) was at Ft. Ord, they had to motor-march 30+ miles to the nearest airfield that could accommodate transport of the division. Motor-marching in itself is not the problem; the problem is that everyone and their mother knows when the division is on the move. What does all of this mean? Well, if the 18th ABN has to motor-march to hop a ride, there goes operational security...
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 11:53:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mo4040:
Slightly O/T, but....

I also heard that Pope AFB is also slated to close. WTF, over? How in the Sam Hill is the 18th ABN Corps (namely, the 82nd ABN Div) going to get around? Is the AF planning on maintaining some rudementary faciliites at Pope to allow transport aircraft to still operate there? If not, there is a big problem. To illusttrate: When the 7th ID (Light) was at Ft. Ord, they had to motor-march 30+ miles to the nearest airfield that could accommodate transport of the division. Motor-marching in itself is not the problem; the problem is that everyone and their mother knows when the division is on the move. What does all of this mean? Well, if the 18th ABN has to motor-march to hop a ride, there goes operational security...


You need to read more closely. The AFB will close, but the runway will stay open. If you're going somewhere of consequence you're using comair, a C-17 or a C-5, not a C-130.

I really love how the arfcom armchair commandos know military assets and missions better than the five sided wind tunnel.
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 6:09:10 PM EDT
dport - I'm not sure if dinger said you were still in the area or not but in today's paper there is a list of questions the VB city counsel wants the BRAC to answer and #2 is what happens to the land if they close the base! Those scumbags only care about one thing: getting their slimmy-ass hands on that land.
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 6:36:55 PM EDT
No, I moved north a bit. Doesn't surprise me though.

I don't expect them to spend the money for a base that will end up closing in another 5 years anyway.
Link Posted: 8/27/2005 8:45:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/27/2005 8:46:07 PM EDT by mo4040]
Jeez Mr dport, I never figured myself as an "Armchair Commando." I did not read any report, I was told verbally about Pope closing, and nothing further. I am more familiar with the movement of assets (by air) than u think. I was not aware that they plan on keeping the runway open, and yes, I do know the difference between ComAir and a C17, seeing that I work both of them on a daily basis.

You can offer insight, or you can be a prick...
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 5:15:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 5:16:22 AM EDT by M4arc]
Juicy tidbit of info

Every Sunday morning I ride with a local contractor here at the beach. This morning we were talking about Oceana and the city and we started discussing a little strip of land along Laskin Rd that was just purchased for three million by a developer. Right after that the BRAC put Oceana on the list and the city gave the developer a 250K deposit for the land IF they buy it from him as part of the buy back. The price the city is going to pay for the three million dollar lot? 15 million dollars

That's not a bad return on a two month investment is it?

He's obviously in bed with someone on the city counsel.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 5:35:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By mo4040:
Jeez Mr dport, I never figured myself as an "Armchair Commando." I did not read any report, I was told verbally about Pope closing, and nothing further. I am more familiar with the movement of assets (by air) than u think. I was not aware that they plan on keeping the runway open, and yes, I do know the difference between ComAir and a C17, seeing that I work both of them on a daily basis.

You can offer insight, or you can be a prick...


You could also read the report before you bitch about it.

My "prickness" is directed at you in particular. It's directed at those who think they know better than the Pentagon, who has been working on this list literally for years, and the BRAC which consists of retired flag officers who have shown over the past 4 months the ability to sniff out BS.
Link Posted: 9/1/2005 7:42:41 AM EDT
M4arc,
You're right they don't care. I think they wanted their cake and to eat it too, but that was years ago.


Oceana Under Fire: Who Takes The Heat?
(VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 1 SEP 05) ... Jon W. Glass
VIRGINIA BEACH — No one disputes that 30 years of development around Oceana Naval Air Station now threatens its survival as the Navy’s East Coast master jet base.

But there’s plenty of disagreement over who is to blame.

Fingers point back and forth – at city leaders and Navy brass – after the federal base-closure commission issued an ultimatum last week for saving Oceana.

Popular wisdom blames the city. For nearly 30 years – from 1975 to 2004 – the City Council voted at least 51 times to allow more homes and shops to be built near Oceana over the Navy’s objections.

“I would speculate that if the city had gone with the Navy’s recommendations those 51 times, we wouldn’t be here today talking about this,” Phil Grandfield, a retired Navy pilot who testified for Virginia at a base-closure hearing, told reporters a day before the commission acted on Oceana.

But former City Council members point their fingers back at the Navy.

They say the Navy failed to buy enough land for a jet base, was inconsistent about opposing development around Oceana, and made the city a scapegoat for letting owners develop their property.

“The Navy is the one doing the encroaching,” said John A. Baum, a former councilman who, during 28 years on the City Council, rarely voted the Navy’s way. He said the Navy outgrew Oceana with its louder, high-performance jets.

“Encroach means to trespass or invade on someone’s territory,” Baum said. “Apparently, the socialist Navy officers don’t believe in private property rights.”

Some say it was inevitable that the city’s need to grow and the Navy’s need to train jet pilots would become irreconcilable.

“I think there was a mutual lack of foresight,” said Grover Wright, a Virginia Beach lawyer who represented developers in the 1970s and ’80s as the Beach grew from a small-town resort into Virginia’s most populous city. “It’s grown incompatible mutually.”

Last week, the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission laid the blame squarely at the city’s feet.

The panel issued an ultimatum: Virginia Beach would lose the base’s F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets to Cecil Field in Florida unless Virginia, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake were to roll back existing development and halt new, incompatible growth.

BRAC’s toughest demand is that the city condemn and buy property in the riskiest accident-potential zones around Oceana.

City officials estimate that would affect about 1,800 homes with a total assessed value of $268 million. The actual cost is expected to be much higher and includes buying shops, restaurants and offices.

In a stinging rebuke of Virginia Beach, BRAC commissioner Samuel K. Skinner, a former U.S. transportation secretary, said BRAC’s ultimatum would give the city and Virginia a chance “to try to clean up the mess they have created.”

Last year, The Virginian-Pilot spent several months examining the city’s record of ignoring Navy concerns. The newspaper reviewed 70 City Council votes on development projects that the Navy had opposed, dating back to 1975.

The City Council brushed aside the Navy’s objections in nearly 73 percent of its votes. Of those 51 votes, 19 projects were in accident-potential zones.

BRAC staffers cited that voting history during briefings on how growth around Oceana had hampered pilot training and placed residents at risk.

Some former City Council members said they were insulted by the BRAC panel’s verbal attack on Virginia Beach.

Patrick L. Standing, a former mayor who served on the City Council from 1974 to 1982, said the city has never had the authority to condemn land for the federal government.

“If it were me,” Standing said this week, “I’d wrap Oceana up in a nice, tight bundle and tell BRAC to stuff it.”

But the BRAC panel’s decision came as no surprise to former commanding officers at Oceana.

“It looks like the BRAC Commission came to the same conclusion that the CO s have been telling the city since the 1960s,” said Danny J. Michaels, a Virginia Beach resident who commanded Oceana from 1978 to 1980. “Some members of council have been listening, but most have not. They do what they want to do.”

John E. Allen, a Chesapeake resident who led Oceana from 1986 to 1988, said he was disappointed by the BRAC panel’s ultimatum.

If the same rules about encroachment applied to every military air base or civilian airport, he said, “We wouldn’t be able to operate commercial aviation or military aviation in this country.”
Still, Allen said, the City Council brought BRAC’s wrath upon itself by failing to heed the Navy’s warnings.

A major development battle came in 1976 over Lynnhaven Mall. At the time, the mall site was on the edge of an accident-potential zone. It now partly lies in one of the lower-risk accident zones.

The City Council approved the mall over the Navy’s vehement objections. Navy officials warned that the site was in line with Oceana’s busiest runways and that thousands of shoppers could die if a jet crashed into it.

No crashes have occurred there, and Navy’s jets continue to fly over the mall.

“The Navy kept telling the city, 'You’re going to put us in a box,’ and that’s where we are now,” said W.D. Knutson, a California resident who led Oceana during the mall fight. “I certainly can’t feel sorry for the city because they kept doing it to themselves.”

Three former City Council members who voted for Lynnhaven Mall and other developments opposed by the Navy – Baum, Standing and Clarence A. Holland – defended their decisions. They argued that the mall site, according to the Navy’s own maps, was not in a crash zone. They also said the Navy should have bought the property if the military did not want it developed.

“The Navy didn’t do anything to protect themselves,” Standing said. “We were looking for tax revenue to pay for schools and roads and all the other things we needed.”

Holland, a former mayor who was on the City Council from 1970 to 1982, said the city was growing by 1,000 residents a month during the 1980s. “The Navy didn’t give us a whole lot of alternatives,” he said.

Former Councilwoman Nancy Creech, who served from 1982 to 1986, said the council struggled to balance the needs of the city and the Navy and to “do what was fair for the property owner.”

“I don’t think any City Council body has been cavalier in their attitude toward Oceana,” Creech said. “The Navy wasn’t as strong then against development as they are now.”

Robert G. Jones, a former mayor who sat on the council from 1982 to 1988, said problems did not surface until the Navy brought in noisier F/A-18 Hornets in 1998. That shifted the Navy’s noise and accident-potential zones.

Several former councilmen said the Defense Department compounded the problem in 2002, when it began opposing new homes in even the low- and medium-noise zones. That rendered thousands of homes that were once viewed as conditionally compatible as incompatible encroachment.

Allen and Knutson, the retired Oceana skippers, said Virginia Beach never used its zoning powers to buffer Oceana, even though state law allows the city to rezone property to prohibit homes near runways of civilian and military airports.

“It was about money and politics,” Knutson said. “You had big developers who wanted to do things and the city just didn’t want to stop them.”

At the Navy’s urging in the late 1970s and 1980s, Congress approved nearly $60 million to buy development rights on nearly 3,700 acres around Oceana and 8,800 acres around Fentress Auxiliary Landing Field in Chesapeake.

But that action did not go far enough, everyone acknowledges.

Former Mayor J. Henry McCoy voted against Lynnhaven Mall, warning at the time that the council would have “blood on our hands” if a crash occurred there. But he also voted for housing developments the Navy opposed.

He said some of the blame for hemming in Oceana rests with the City Council, but that the Navy is not blameless.

“I don’t think anyone,” he said, “ever dreamed it would get to this.”

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