Safety issues prompt 'pits to Ritz' leased housing move in Germany
Stars and Stripes October 18, 2004
DARMSTADT, Germany — Families living in leased housing areas in and around the Darmstadt area will be moving out within a year, according to housing officials.
There are currently 174 families living in leased housing areas that do not comply with a U.S. European Command order that says no more than 12 families can live in a single unit.
This order is an attempt to protect against terror threats, said Daniel “Lee” Machen, the chief of the housing division for the 233rd Base Support Battalion, based in Darmstadt.
Machen also said that the move would relocate families from the “pits to the Ritz.” He said they would either be moving into newly renovated housing quarters on base — some with washers and dryers in the units — or may have the option to move off post, if necessary.
Machen said either way, all families’ relocation would be considered on a case-by-case basis when the time comes.
The four leased housing areas, in Darmstadt, Eberstadt and Griesheim, have all finished their lease commitments and will be returned to their owners next year.
No new tenants will be moved into the units as they become vacant during the coming year, and the remaining families will be relocated by government-paid movers as their turn comes.
“Housing will generate assignment orders to move on or off post. The orders will reflect that it is a government-directed and paid-for move. These should be taken to the transition office and set up just like a regular [permanent change of station],” Machen said.
“Packers will come and pack up on the date given and then they’re supposed to unpack the families in their new housing. The only change should be that it’s a new environment.”
Time extensions will be given if troops are deployed during the scheduled move, Machen said. However, families can volunteer to move without the deployed troop present.
“We’re not going to leave families in the dark, not knowing what’s going on or what’s going to happen,” Machen said.
He said notification letters will not be sent out until next year, and well after the holidays.
“There is no preparation work or assistance we need from families in these leased housing areas. I don’t feel like I have to worry families about any of this process right now,” he said.
Machen said families will have plenty of notification before any movers come knocking on doors.
Until then, he advised the families that will be moved, just relax.