Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) is a regional entity created by State law in 1994 following closure of the former Fort Ord military training base in 1992. FORA is charged with responsibility to plan, finance, manage and oversee conversion of the former military land for community reuse. When established, FORA was envisioned to “sunset” in 20 years under assumptions that certain goals and mandated conditions for reuse were achieved. Due to significant impacts beyond FORA’s direct control, such as an extended national recession, it became clear the originally anticipated goals could not be achieved as scheduled and legislation extended the life of FORA to 2020, again assuming that the mandated and anticipated regional goals could be achieved. The 2020 extension also required that FORA prepare a formal Transition Plan to assure that on-going legally mandated requirements would continue to be funded and addressed within the region.
In the years following base closure, the Monterey Bay region has faced multiple and substantial hurdles and impacts, some immediate and some on-going: about $500 million in lost funding and local income to the area; repair and/or replacement of substandard infrastructure such as roads, sewer and water systems; lost jobs; required removal of hazardous materials and remnant munitions and explosives; removal of dilapidated buildings; and creation of new opportunities to meet needs for housing, jobs, and protection of the environment.
To address these significant impacts, FORA developed a regionally focused Base Reuse Plan, including a basewide public facilities plan, an area-wide conservation and planning blueprint, and a financing plan. The financing plan particularly addressed the need to foster economic recovery as well as plans for how transportation improvements, habitat conservation, water resources and building removal would be accomplished. These same items were addressed in a Capital Improvement Program and financed primarily through revenues from land sales and through a Community Facilities District special tax which is paid when building permits are issued.
Additionally, FORA has been able to substantially and successfully leverage both federal, state and local investor dollars in the reuse efforts and is now at the cusp of realizing the vision created by the Base Reuse Plan. However, there is still work to be done. An integrated Habitat Conservation Plan must be completed, financed and adopted — at the estimated cost of $45 million. Required regional roadway infrastructure must be completed — at a cost of $115.5 million. Water augmentation must be implemented through a project and conservation estimated at $17.8 million.
Current state law (Government Code section 67000) states that FORA will sunset on June 30, 2020 unless there is legislative modification extending this date. Transition planning is what is required to complete or transfer the remaining obligations and liabilities to ensure required programs are completed.
FORA staff began the transition discussions with the FORA board in 2015 and worked with a Transition Task Force in 2016-17 to address issues and concerns.
A Transition Plan is legally required and due to LAFCO (the Local Area Formation Commission) by December 2018 in order to comply with state law. The Transition Plan will contain a detailed assignment of obligations, liabilities, and assets and include a plan for completing the required work for the region.
To assure the required timeline for completion of a Transition Plan is met, the FORA Board is now in the process of making policy decisions as to how it will proceed: whether an extension of FORA is desired, whether a different entity is to be established to meet and achieve on-going requirements and funding, or whether the required program and financing obligations will be transferred to individual cities and county areas.
Questions about the FORA Transition Planning process can be directed to your local FORA Board elected official and/or to the FORA staff.