Mountain View Voice

News - May 18, 2012

How the process works

The General Services Administration's property disposal process kicks in upon receiving a "Report of Excess" from NASA.

To find a new owner, Moffett must first be offered to federal agencies, and there are 17 federal bodies which are designated as landholding agencies, such as the Army, FEMA or Department of Veterans Affairs. But first GSA needs to gather input from Moffett's stakeholders and look at the historic preservation and environmental laws that pertain to Moffett.

If there are no takers on the federal level, it is then declared surplus federal property and the Department of Housing and Urban Development decides whether the property is useable for a homeless shelter, a use which must be considered before all others.

If it is not, the GSA would post notices with public agencies and institutions that Moffett is available as a "public benefit conveyance" for qualified uses: "public health or educational uses, public parks and public recreational areas, historic monuments, homeless assistance, correctional institutions, port facilities, public airports, wildlife conservation, self-help housing, law enforcement and emergency management response." Depending on the use, the price can be "substantially discounted" below market value, or even given away.

If that fails to dispose of the property, it becomes available to state and local governments in a "negotiated sale" before it is offered to the general public in a bidding process. Sunnyvale or Mountain View for example, could purchase Moffett for economic development and property taxes would then go to local government agencies and schools.

Mountain View and Sunnyvale could split Moffett along a predetermined boundary which runs up the center of the airfield, between the two runways. The boundary outlines "spheres of influence" currently used by both cities when advocating for toxins cleanup, as Moffett has a significant underground plume of trichloroethylene, or TCE.

"The sphere of influence is LAFCO's way of predetermining where something would go," said Kevin Woodhouse, assistant to Mountain View's city manager. The Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, is the county agency that approves annexations.

—Daniel DeBolt

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