YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — About 50 residents facing relocation because of renovations to dozens of east-side Yokota apartments attended a town hall meeting Wednesday at the base theater.

Housing flight and 374th Civil Engineer Squadron officials discussed the multiphased project and still uncertain time lines. Eighty-six families in three- and four-bedroom garden apartments must be moved to other units, by August or September.

Thursday, officials planned to begin assigning vacant units to those in that first group to be moved, said Elizabeth Wilson, Yokota’s housing manager.

“We want to get as many people moved … as quickly as possible,” she said, so “we can turn the empty apartments over to the contractor as soon as we get a start date.”

The quicker the housing request applications are received, “the quicker we can assess their needs.”

If they aren’t received soon, she said, “we’ll start calling people next week.”

Those to be moved first, during subphase I, live in four-bedroom units.

They’re being given other east-side garden apartments, she said; those in three- and four-bedroom units will be moved during subphases II and III.

Families in the second group should be put into similarly sized housing, Wilson said, but four-bedroom garden units might be in shorter supply.

Off-base rental houses always are an option, Wilson told those gathered for the town hall meeting.

Also, when renovations begin, residents who received larger apartments than they qualified for when they came to Yokota will be moved into units matching their space entitlements, she said.

Billeting could be arranged for personnel within 30 to 45 days of a permanent departure but that will be determined individually, she added.

In addition, current base residents facing a move have priority over new arrivals and residents are to receive a minimum 30-day notice before they must pack out.

Wilson blamed most of the moving date uncertainty on waiting for Pacific Air Forces funds needed to finalize construction contracts.

The funds are expected at any time, she said.

The project is to be carried out in phases, with contractors tackling up to 70 garden units at once.

Lt. Col. Martin Granum, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, said officials would consider posting updated information on a new Web site.

Under existing guidelines, contractors have 120 days to refurbish the first batch of apartments but that doesn’t account for problems almost always arising in construction efforts, Wilson said.

After the work is done, housing officials have a 40-day window to vacate the next wave of units and hand them to contractors.

Four north-side garden apartments are among the 56 now being overhauled, said Dee Green, Yokota’s deputy housing manager.

Another 72 are to be restored, plus 86 in the third phase.

Some $232 million in renovations of all Yokota tower and garden units considered inadequate will be completed by 2009, Granum said.

In all, 1,540 apartments among Yokota’s 2,600 military housing units are on the renovation list, which dates to 2003.

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