Cathy Dyson writes about King George County.
County will study impact of base on community, and vice-versa
With no fanfare or discussion, the King George County Board of Supervisors agreed to proceed with a study that some believe may help secure the Navy base at Dahlgren against future closure.
Supervisors agreed to sponsor a Joint Land Use Study, or JLUS. King George will put together an advisory committee that also includes representatives from Caroline and Westmoreland counties, as well as the town of Colonial Beach and Charles County in Maryland.
Together, the representatives and base officials will work together to have a better understanding of what the other is planning—as well as what each needs from the other.
“This is not an anti-growth program,” Rich Tenga, a project manager with the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment, told the supervisors in October. “We know cities and counties have to grow.”
But it’s good for communities and military bases to know what developments are in the works on the private side as well as what testing and operations are planned on the military side, Tenga told the group.
Even though supervisors passed the resolution with no discussion, there has been a lot said about the JLUS since June.
Supervisor Ruby Brabo, whose district includes the Navy base, held a town-hall meeting in June. One of the speakers was Bob Fuscaldo, a former county supervisor and base commander who criticized the county for not acting sooner on the study.
He’d been through four base closings, as a Navy officer and a civilian. He was concerned that the Navy was gathering information about encroachment issues around the Dahlgren base—which might put the facility at risk for future closure.
The Navy base requested funding for the study in 2009 and it was approved two years later. When Navy officials asked county representatives on their COMREL, or Civilian–Military Community Relations Council, when the study could get started, King George’s representative said he preferred to wait a year or two because the county was updating its Comprehensive Plan.
That representative was Supervisor Joe Grzeika, who had been criticized by Brabo for making what she called “unilateral decisions.”
In October, the supervisors held a work session with DoD and base officials, who talked about the time and effort involved with a study. The board instructed the county administrator to draft a resolution for them to approve.
On Tuesday, almost two months later, County Administrator Travis Quesenberry presented the resolution, which was approved unanimously.
Supervisor Dale Sisson Jr. wasn’t at the meeting. When Chairman Cedell Brooks Jr. opened the meeting in prayer, he asked for people to remember Sisson, who’d had a minor auto accident before the meeting. Brooks said Sisson was okay, but was on his way to the hospital to be examined.
For the second meeting in a row, residents asked that Brabo, who joined the board in January, be appointed to some key positions.
Last month, two residents asked that she be named the county’s representative on COMREL in place of Grzeika, as well as on another board he serves on, the George Washington Regional Commission.
On Tuesday, resident Dennis Askin asked that she be elected vice chairman of the board. The supervisors select their chairman and vice chairman at the first meeting of the year.
That’s Jan. 1, and because it’s a holiday, the board will decide on Dec. 18 what date they’ll meet during the first week of the new year.