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Following line 19, the following item would be inserted :
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, all these Capehart houses are authorized.
Mr. DURHAM. How many more did you add !
Mr. KELLEHER. Those are the only amendments, Mr. Chairman, for the Air Force. There is an amendment to the general provision that is related to housing, generally. Would you like that read at this time?
The CHAIRMAN. Wait 1 minute, now.
General RENTZ. That is the only change I think that Mr. Kelleher mentioned that we would like to advance at this time, Mr. Chairman. As you remember, at our previous sessions, we requested some flexibility in this Capehart program. We have the wording to add to the bill—not in the Air Force section, but in the general-provisions section, as it applies to all services, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. KELLEHER. It would be more appropriate to take it up during the general provisions, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; good. Does that finish the line items of the Air Force ?
General RENTZ. Yes, sir; it finishes, with the exception of the $25 million emergency authorization.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. We will talk about all that later on. Now, let's get back now to the general provisions.
Let's see, now. Wait a minute. It is 10 minutes to 12. Now, before we take a recess until Monday morning to take up the general provisions, generally, I would like to get some information in regard to the Bryan Air Force Base in Texas.
General RENTZ. Bryan Air Force Base; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Some $15 million or $16 million has been spent there on this base. It is a training base, and I understand now it is to be abandoned.
General RENTZ. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any way we can use that, to save that capital investment of $16 million? I wish you would look into that matter thoroughly and advise the committee later on in regard to it.
General RENTZ. We will be happy to do that, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, Mr. Kelleher, that brings it all down to the general provisions of the bill?
Mr. KELLEHER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And there are 1 or 2 amendments pending with reference to the Army?
Mr. KELLEHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. KELLEHER. None that are pending, Mr. Chairman. After finishing the general provisions, you could then go back to the Army and go through the whole bill for all amendments. That is your usual practice.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right. All right.
I want to thank all of the members of the committee for coming this morning
Mr. LANKFORD. Ten o'clock?
(Whereupon, at 11:50 a. m., the committee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Monday, June 16, 1958.)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,
Washington, D.C., Monday, June 16, 1958. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Carl Vinson, chairman of the committee, presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the committee come to order.
Members of the committee, I was requested by Mr. Hardy to make some particular inquiry in regard to 2 items in reference to Capehart houses at Fort Eustis, Va., 223
units, and at Langley FieldMr. KELLEHER. Five hundred units.
The CHAIRMAN. Five hundred units; as he said, there were some representatives from those areas that desire to testify. Anyone here this morning who wants to give the committee some information with reference to Capehart houses provided for in this bill!
Mr. KELLEHER. Mr. Brout.
The CHAIRMAN. I have a letter that Mr. Albert T. Brout, chairman of the Home Builders Association of Virginia, desires to testify.
Now, Mr. Brout, the committee will be glad to hear you submit any response why you do not think it would be the proper thing to build these houses. Have you a prepared statement !
Mr. BROUT. Yes, sir; I have.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, go ahead and tell the committee why, in your judgment, they should not be built.
Mr. BROUT. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman, my name is Albert T. Brout. I am chairman of the multiple-housing committee of the Home Builders Association of the Virginia Peninsula. I have with me Mr. Paul Bickford, past presi
dent of the Home Builders Association, and a member of my comInittee. I wish to thank you and the members of your committee for granting the representatives of the Home Builders Association of the Virginia Peninsula this opportunity to appear before you and testify in support of our contentions regarding the Capehart military o: rogram. We welcome this opportunity to present our case to you an eel that by doing so facts previously unknown, or little publicized, will be made a matter of record. I would like to begin by bringing out two points. First, that the Virginia Peninsula is, to a large degree, a military area with installations in operation for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Secondly, I would like to add that we are fortunate on the Virginia Peninsula in that we enjoy a realtively stable economy by virtue of our fine shipyard, extensive port facilities, not to forget the contribution of the military and various other local enterprises. Among these, the home building and construction industry is no small part. While I am unable at this time to offer total construction figures for the Virginia Peninsula, I can, nevertheless, say that the permit value for the building of new homes only on the peninsula for the period 1952–57 was in excess of $90 million. Graphic representation of these figures show that we have had our share ...? ups and downs. This, however, can be attributed to the natural trend of business. We do believe, though, that, with the advent of additional military housing on the peninsula beyond that already in existence or contracted for, that the homebuilding industry and its many allied trades, professions, and industries are going to suffer economically. With regard to those units currently contracted for or let for bid, I have particular reference to 500 new Capehart military housing units at Langley Air Force Base. It should be noted here that our association's military housing committee, after several meetings and very careful consideration of the situation involving the application by Langley Air Force Base for these 500 units, recommended to the board of directors of the association that the Langley application not be opposed. I make this point now to illustrate that we feel obligated, and endeavor to discharge that obligation, to carefully consider each request for military housing on its own merits. Our position of not opposing the Langley application was predicated, in part, upon agreement by Air Force officials to demolish existing family quarters at Langley upon completion of the 500 new Capehart units. Also, as best we could determine, these new units would not cause a severe drain on the local rental market, although we certainly expect to feel some effect once they are completed. . As a general rule, the addition of military housing to the local housing inventory will cause a very definite slowing down of the market. One more point that we considered in determining our position was that the FHA title 608 and 908 units constructed on the Peninsula since 1940 were all built at the request of the military and primarily for military use. While we agree that they do not meet the present military standards of adequacy, they were, nevertheless, very adequate at the time they were built. Now, should our conclusions regarding a drain on the local rental market be in error, the foreclosure of any title 608 or 908 project would have a tremendous adverse effect on the entire Peninsula mortgage market, since we are just beginning to live down the reputation, among life-insurance companies that invest in real-estate mortgages, that this is an unstable, primarily military, market. Nevertheless, in a spirit of community cooperation, for which we were commended by Langley officials, we, again, decided not to oppose their request.
Now that we find ourselves confronted once again with a request for more military housing, this time 223 units at #. Eustis, we are faced with the question: Are they needed and will they adversely affect the Peninsula economy? There is little doubt in our minds that the local economy does not stand to gain but, rather, to suffer if this request is approved. Secondly, considering the fact that 600 units were just completed at Fort Eustis, and it was not a matter of being able to occupy them overnight, we feel very strongly that this request for 223 more units is totally and completely out of reason.
I wrote in my letter of June 9, 1958, to Congressman Hardy and Congressman Robeson, that, in addition to the 600 newly constructed Capehart units, Fort Eustis had also acquired a total of 462 Wherry housing units. This, plus 130 Wherry units within 2 miles of Fort Eustis have just recently been acquired by the Navy. These units are not now fully occupied. Further, 450 units were recently completed at Fort Eustis with appropriated funds. Adding these together, we have a grand total of 1,642 military housing units built within the last 3 to 4 years. With approval of their current request for 223 units, the total would grow to an amazing 1,865 units. Gentlemen, what is intended to be a military installation is, indeed, becoming a young city of luxury-type apartments, and I ask you, where is it to stop? The only bright light that is visible to us now, and to the many others across this Nation that share our views, is this committee and its counterpart in the United States Senate, who can help.
In conclusion, then, I will say that we, the homebuilders of the Virginia Peninsula, firmly believe that the necessities of our national defense have overriding priority over any other consideration. As builders we are keenly aware of the continuing problem of providing adequate housing for military installations. But we feel, too, that a limit has been reached. Therefore, with respect to the request by Fort Eustis for 223 additional Capehart units, it is the carefully considered opinion of our association that, on the basis of the housing now on the post and rental properties available within the community, these units are not needed, and that the armed services, in general, are overprograming in their request for more and more military housing.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Witness.
Then I understood from your statement that you withdraw any objection to Langley Field?
Mr. BROUT. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that correct?
Mr. BROUT. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Then there is no need to discuss Langley Field. We will talk about Fort Eustis.
Now, what military installation is there? What is the type of military installation?
Mr. BROUT. Transportation Corps.
The CHAIRMAN. Transportation Corps. And what is the personnel there?
Mr. BROUT. I can' hear him.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. How many houses have been recently built there?
Mr. BROUT. They just completed 650, that they had trouble occupy. ing, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How many of them are vacant?
Mr. Brout. I can't tell you that, but I can show you evidence of people that are being moved out of apartments right now to occupy that, people that are presently housed.
I have here also a statement, sir, that I would like to read to you. It is a very short letter.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead and read it.
Mr. BROUT. This is from Briar Homes, 5885 Wickham Avenue, Newport News.
Mr. RIVERS. Speak a little louder, please, sir. Mr. BROUT. Yes, sir. This was written Saturday afternoon: This is to advise that at the present time I have 90 vacant apartments in Arlington, 10 vacant apartments in Briar Homes, and expect 10 more in River Drive apartments on July 1, 1958.
These vacancies have occurred since the Capehart housing opened up at Fort Eustis. If things continue as they are at present, the Government will soon put the private owners out of business. We would like the opportunity to present any evidence. Very truly yours,
LOUISE YOUNG. I also have here, sir, a very quick tabulation of some vacancies that are presently existing since this Capehart opened up at Fort Eustis.
The CHAIRMAN. You take the position, then, there is available adequate commercial-owned property for rental purposes at Fort Eustis?
Mr. BROUT. Yes, sir; within the area.
The CHAIRMAN. And therefore there is no need for the Government authorizing the Capehart houses?
Mr. BROUT. That is correct, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You just stated that in one apartment, in Arlington, there were some 90 vacancies?
Mr. BROUT. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, what are the total number of available units at Fort Eustis commercially owned that is available to the military?
Mr. BROUT. I can give that to you in one moment.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, about how much do they rent for, the average! Of course, they vary.
Mr. BROUT. A 2-bedroom apartment rents for about $65. That includes water. A 3-bedroom apartment is about $75 to $85.
The CHAIRMAN. It is just about, then, the quarters allowance ? Mr. BROUT. Now, are they standard or substandard ! Mr. BROUT. That depends entirely upon what you call standard. The present