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1973 map shows Airport comprises over 800 acres and includes Industrial Park

Federal grant assurances need land leases to be at ‘fair market value’ for funding
joy@samoanews.com

The Port Administration is hoping the Lolo and Lemanu Administration will honor the 1973 map which was recently uncovered, when the Federal Aviation Administration came to the territory last month to conduct an audit or inventory on all of the airport property and its usage, in relationship to federal grant applications by the Port.
 
The map presented to ASG officials last month indicate the extended Airport property, which includes all the Industrial Park lots, Tafuna Housing, the Correctional facilities, and lands that extend to Stevens & Sons on the Pala Lagoon side, to the car wash over by the Triple S gas station, which is also an airport lease.
 
There are over 800 acres, according to the 1973 map, which also shows airport land includes the VA Stadium, the ASTCA offices, the Election and TEO offices, McDonald’s, CSL and on back to the DOE school lunch and Aveina Brothers Wholesale, as well as along the main airport road on both sides—  including the ASPA compound.
 
(Samoa News should point out that the map seems to show land that is currently ‘not recognized’ as government land or FAA leased land, as well as land that is in contention, i.e. ASG vs the Fagaima Clan — the matter is currently before the Appellate Court.)
 
For the most part, the airport property has been managed by other ASG departments, especially the Industrial Park lots, which are under the purview of the Department of Commerce.
 
The Director of the Port Administration Taimalelagi Claire Tuia Poumele, in speaking with Samoa News, said she is hoping the revenue generated from businesses on airport designated land — which contains more than 50 businesses — will be given to the Port for development of the Airport.
 
She told Samoa News that two officials from the FAA are looking into the Airport’s revenue or cash flow from the tenants on the Airport property.
 
“Part of everything that’s listed as airport property that’s on this map and with the grants that we are applying for have grant assurances. If we’re applying for grants, we are going to need to meet these conditions and part of these conditions is that everything on airport property has to be fair market value.”
 
Taimalelagi said for instance, the property at the Industrial Park seems to be leased out for less than market value, i.e. what ASG is currently charging per square foot.
 
(Samoa News notes that businesses located at the Industrial Park are not all paying the same amount, with charges ranging from 15 cents up to $1.65 per square foot, according to a copy of the industrial park tenants database recorded by the Department of Commerce, which Samoa News has obtained, and will report on this week.)
 
The Port director further stated the FAA audit uncovered that the Industrial Park lots and ASG housing over by the Pala Lagoon, all the way up to Steven and Sons, and the entire strip and acreage leased to businesses behind the ASPA power plant and across from the Veterans Memorial Stadium are all a part of airport land.
 
She further stated that, interestingly, a 1973 map laid out all ASG lands dedicated to the airport and its purposes and the FAA officials conducted site visits of the properties as they went over the 1973 map, to make a determination as to how much of the Airport property within the 1973 boundaries has been occupied by other government entities as well as the private sector.
 
The Port Director said the FAA was also looking at how much revenue ASG was collecting from these agencies and private businesses. She noted that the FAA officials met with ASG officials, who have been occupying the airport property. She said in that meeting the FAA gathered information, which it will use for a report on the audit and inventory.
 
It should be emphasized that Taimalelagi made it clear the Port Administration will not take back the land which has been occupied by the various ASG agencies, however the Port is looking at “reassigning” the Airport property to those government agencies (Department of Commerce and Administrative Services) the appropriate way.
 
Samoa News asked Acting Port Director Chris King if FAA is making lease payments to ASG or the Port Administration regarding the land.
 
He responded that there are some areas that FAA is leasing and they do pay. “If you see where FAA has its equipment, those are the areas they are leasing and are paying for it, like where Logotala Hill is located, that’s one of ASG’s properties which FAA is leasing.”
 
He also stated the two areas where the ASPA solar farms are located are Airport Property, not FAA land. Samoa News asked King if now, with the information about the airport property, will Port enforce their ownership of leases, and request the revenues?
 
King stated that it’s up to the governor if he will honor the map which was presented by FAA, as they had met in Hawai’i, prior to the FAA officials coming to American Samoa.
 
He pointed out that it’s unclear at this time if the Lolo and Lemanu Administration will honor the map, and perhaps they will redraw the map.
 
Samoa News sent queries to the governor’s Executive Assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira asking if the governor has decided what to do about the 1973 map, however there was no immediate response.

A photo of the 1973 map showing ASG, at the time of Gov. John Morse Haydon, allocated over 800 acres of land for airport use — and a copy of this map was given to the FAA, whose officials were in town last month, to look at the airport’s land leases in terms of cash flow and fair market value that are a part of required assurances, when applying for airport grant funding. [photo:JL]


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