Navy property belongs to us

Feb 21, 2012

Whidbey News Times: Navy property belongs to us


February 21, 2012

The city of Oak Harbor should get over its apparent fear of the U.S. Navy and proceed with plans to locate its new sewer plant on “Navy property.”

There is general agreement that the undeveloped Navy property on Crescent Harbor is the best, most logical location for the new sewer plant, which could well cost in the neighborhood of $100 million. But certain council members are doubtful the Navy would give up “its” property, so another possible site was added last week, bringing the total number of locations being considered to six.

The latest addition consists of nine separate pieces of privately owned property located above the Navy’s Crescent Harbor site. The decision, which apparently emanated from city staff, is a head-scratcher. It unduly alarmed nine property owners, who would see their property taken from them at a price determined by the government. The same problem is inherent in every other proposed non-Navy site, except for Windjammer Park, where the existing sewer plant is located. Only a numbskull would locate the new sewer plant in a city park.

The council is working under something of a deadline to submit a facilities site plan to the state by the end of the year, as if that’s a difficult target. Instead of continuing studies on the sixth site and the four other non-Navy sites, the council should boldly declare the Navy’s Crescent Harbor site as its preferred alternative, with no fallback position.

They say is will take and act of Congress to acquire the Navy property. Then so be it. The public paid for the Navy’s property and since the Crescent Harbor area isn’t being used for critical defense purposes, it can be given back to its real owners without jeopardizing national security.

Oak Harbor is fortunate to have an influential delegation in Congress in Rep. Rick Larsen, Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Marie Cantwell, all of whom have worked for the betterment of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and all of whom know Oak Harbor well. Acts of Congress happen all the time, so let’s get our representatives working on this one immediately.