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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 261-96
May 07, 1996

NAVY ISSUES ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD OF DECISION FOR REUSE OF CHARLESTON NAVAL BASE

The Department of the Navy will issue the Record of Decision (ROD) on the transfer and reuse of the Charleston Naval Base in North Charleston, South Carolina. On behalf of Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy William J. Cassidy, Jr. will present the environmental document to Mr. James C. Bryan, Chairman of the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority in a ceremony at the United States Capitol, Room S-237 at 12:30 p.m. today.

The Record of Decision is the final step in the environmental evaluation process established by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). NEPA requires Federal agencies such as the Department of the Navy to consider the impact that major federal actions, such as transfer of the Naval Base property, may have on the environment.

The ROD is the Navy's decision to dispose and transfer the Charleston Naval Base property in a manner that is consistent with the reuse plan proposed by the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority (RDA), and is in keeping with the Department of Defense's community-based reuse objectives. The Department of the Navy has concluded that the RDA's proposed redevelopment of the base property responds to local economic conditions, promotes rapid economic recovery, and is consistent with President's Five-Part Plan for revitalizing base closure communities. The Record of Decision is an environmental document. It does not convey the Naval Base property. Conveyance, or transfer of title, of the Naval Base property is a separate matter that will be undertaken later in discussions between the Department of the Navy and the local RDA.

The Charleston Naval Base Record of Decision represents the highly successful coordinated efforts of the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority and the Navy. It is a significant step in the base closure process in that it allows the local communities to begin long term redevelopment and highlights the Department of the Navy's commitment to economic prosperity at closure sites.

Fact Sheet 07 May 1996

RECORD OF DECISION

FOR REUSE OF CHARLESTON NAVAL BASE,

SOUTH CAROLINA

The Record of Decision (ROD) concerns the transfer and reuse of the former Charleston Naval Base in South Carolina. In this Record of Decision, the Department of the Navy sets forth its decision to dispose of the Charleston Naval Base property in a manner consistent with the high-density redevelopment plan proposed by the State selected local redevelopment authority, known as the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority (RDA).

The Record of Decision is an environmental document. It does not convey the Naval Base property. Conveyance, or transfer of title, of the Naval Base property is a separate matter that will be undertaken later in discussions between the Department of the Navy and the local RDA.

The 1993 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommended closure of the Charleston Naval Station and Naval Shipyard complex. The Naval Station and Naval Shipyard observed operational closure on April 1, 1996. Currently, the property is being maintained and protected by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southern Division, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina.

Now that the Record of Decision has been issued, the Department of the Navy may enter into leases in furtherance of conveyance of the property. These leases are for a longer term than the five-year interim leases that the Navy entered into with the RDA before the ROD was issued. Additionally, the RDA may now use buildings and property on the former base for activities different from those previously conducted by the Navy, as long as the activity is consistent with the Record of Decision.

The Record of Decision is the final step in the environmental evaluation process established by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). NEPA requires Federal agencies such as the Department of the Navy to consider the impact that major federal actions, such as transfer of the Naval Base property, may have on the environment.

The Charleston Naval Base covers 1,575 acres of land and is composed of the Naval Station which covers 842 acres, the Naval Shipyard which covers 505 acres, the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center which covers 194 acres, the Fleet and Mine Warfare Training Center which covers 10 acres, and the Chicora Tank Farm which covers 24 acres. These properties are known collectively as the Naval Base and are located entirely within the City of North Charleston.

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In support of the NEPA process, the Department of the Navy held four public scoping meetings to discuss disposal and reuse of the land, buildings and infrastructure at the Base. Two meetings were held in the City of North Charleston on May 11, 1994, and meetings were also held in Goose Creek and Summerville on May 12, 1994.

On October 21, 1994, the Department of the Navy distributed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and held public hearings on the Draft EIS at the Chicora Community Center on November 28, 1994, and at City Hall in North Charleston on November 29, 1994. Federal agencies, South Carolina state agencies, local governments, and the general public submitted comments on the Draft EIS. These comments and Navy's responses were incorporated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which was distributed to the public for a review period that concluded on July 24, 1995. Public comments on the Final EIS were considered before preparation of the Record Of Decision.

As the basis for its NEPA analysis of the environmental impacts arising out of transfer and reuse of the Naval Base property, the Department of the Navy initially relied upon the proposed reuse plan developed in 1994 by the Trident's BEST (Building Economic Solutions Together) Committee, the first local redevelopment authority established by the Governor of South Carolina in 1993 and composed of representatives from Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties. In 1994, the BEST Committee's successor, the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority, known as the RDA, was created to oversee the reuse and transfer of the Naval Base property.

In the Final Environmental Impact Statement, Navy analyzed three Alternative Reuse Scenario's that had been proposed as possible reuse plans for the Naval Base. Scenario 1 proposed a mixed use of the property with minimal infrastructure improvements and reflected a 500 acre scenario developed by the BEST Committee. Scenario 2 proposed a more intensive mixed use with an emphasis on attracting tourism and reflected a 1000 acre scenario developed by the BEST Committee. Scenario 3 proposed the most intensive redevelopment and reflected the BEST Committee's 1500 acre scenario and the RDA's adoption of that plan with two variations. The three proposals within Alternative Reuse Scenario 3 were known as Development Concepts 3, 3A and 3B.

In mid-1995, the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority endorsed high density redevelopment of the entire 1500 acre Naval Base property, with the two variations from the BEST Committee's proposed reuse plan. Designated as Alternative Reuse Scenario 3 in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, this high density redevelopment advanced Development Concepts 3, 3A and 3B as three possible approaches to reuse of the Naval Base.

Development Concept 3, the plan developed by the BEST Committee, provided areas for civic and community use and proposed five major employment centers: an office district, a shipyard district, a marine or maritime industrial district, an intermodal cargo facility, and an industrial park related to the intermodal facility.

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Concept 3A proposed the same major employment centers but changed the locations of the intermodal cargo terminal, the related railroad yard, and the maritime industrial district to take account of the environmental remediation planned for two sites on the Naval Station. Concept 3B proposed the use and expansion of existing Naval Shipyard and Naval Station facilities to develop an extensive maritime industrial district as well as an office district, a cultural park district, a community support district, and areas for open space and recreation. Under Concept 3B, however, the intermodal cargo facility would not be built.

The Department of the Navy has determined in the Record of Decision that Alternative Reuse Scenario 3 with its three Development Concepts presents the highest and best use of the Charleston Naval Base property. The ROD does not mandate selection of any one Development Concept. Rather, it leaves selection of the particular means to achieve high density redevelopment to the entity that acquires the Naval Base property and the local zoning authority.

The Department of the Navy has concluded in the Record of Decision that the RDA's proposed high density redevelopment of the entire Base responds to local economic conditions, promotes rapid economic recovery from the impact of base closure, and is consistent with President Clinton's Five-Part Plan for revitalizing base closure communities, which emphasizes local economic redevelopment of the closed military facility and creation of jobs as the means to revitalize these communities. The Department of the Navy believes that the environmental impacts arising out of the proposed redevelopment can be mitigated by the entity that acquires the Naval Base property, under the direction of Federal, State and local regulatory authorities.

The Department of the Navy looks forward to continuing its long, historic and close relationship with the Low Country through the outstanding officers, sailors and civilians assigned to the Naval Weapons Station and the Naval In-Service Engineering- East (NISE EAST) activities located just north of the Naval Base, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command's Southern Division in Charleston, and, soon, the Naval Nuclear Power School.

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