Germans nix latest Grafenwöhr housing plan
Stars and Stripes November 22, 2010
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Plans to build 100 homes for U.S. soldiers and their families near Grafenwöhr Training Area have been scrapped after hundreds of Germans signed a petition against the project.
Hundreds of new off-post homes are needed near Grafenwöhr so that the Army can move forward with plans to consolidate the 172nd Infantry Brigade there. Some 750 soldiers, along with about 1,120 family members, were scheduled to move from Schweinfurt, Germany, to Grafenwöhr last summer, but the move was delayed after work fell through on a 300-unit off-post military community.
Now plans for a smaller 100-home project in the town of Hütten also have fallen through, according to Grafenwöhr Mayor Helmuth Wächter.
Some 250 Hütten residents signed a petition against the 100-home proposal. Then, at a recent town meeting, the project was shot down by a 22-4 vote. The local residents who oppose the construction see the area as the only place where new homes could be built for Germans living in the town, and they prefer to save the land for their own housing projects, Wächter said.
As a result of the vote, local officials will attempt to resurrect the 300-unit military housing project, known as Hütten-am-See, Wächter said. An investor — whom Wächter declined to name — has proposed a smaller version of Hütten-am-See that would combine 74 new double homes with a solar-powered generation facility.
“The solar facility will help the new investor to finance the project,” he said.
However, the 74 double houses will not be enough to accommodate all of the 172nd soldiers that the Army wants to bring to the area. About 100 more houses need to be built, he said.
U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr public affairs officer Nick D’Amario said U.S. Forces are not involved in negotiations on any projects regarding leased housing in the Hütten area.