Air Force Transfers McClellan Deeds to Sacramento County for Redevelopment

  • Published
  • By Linda Geissinger
  • AFCEC Public Affairs
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center signed two deeds for property at the former McClellan Air Force Base this month, transferring 183.4 acres to Sacramento County.

The county will in turn transfer the property to McClellan Business Park, the former military base's developer. 

Since closure in 2001, approximately 60 percent of the 3,450-acre military base has been transferred. The entire former base is being reused under agreements between the Air Force and Sacramento County and its property developer.

The deeds for the latest land transfers include 33 lots, with 84 facilities, predominately used for aviation and industrial purposes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the transfers, which were then sent to the governor of California for coordination under a process called "early transfer with privatized cleanup."

This process facilitates timely and efficient reuse while maintaining protection of human health and the environment, said Philip Mook, Jr., Air Force Civil Engineer Center's chief of the Western Execution Branch at McClellan. This is the last of four property transfers to the county using the early transfer with privatized cleanup model, he added.

"It has been a great process and learning experience," he said. "When we first started, there was no model for this. We figured it out along the way. In the end, it was worth it because the Air Force achieves its goal of property transfer, the community obtains full title to the property more quickly, and public health and the environment are protected."

Because some environmental cleanup work remains at these land parcels, the county requested early transfer to expedite reuse. The Air Force then employed the early transfer process, requiring U.S. EPA and governor approval and binding commitments for future remediation. The privatized cleanup portion of the deal calls for U.S. EPA to provide regulatory leadership, in consultation with state regulators, of the cleanup performed by McClellan Business Park. The cleanup is funded by the Air Force who remains ultimately responsible for achieving cleanup.

The property is subject to land-use controls pending completed cleanup work. These controls include digging and groundwater restrictions, as well as restrictions on the type of reuse, for example, preventing residential use until certain cleanup standards are achieved. Enforceable restrictions in the deeds prevent exposure from soil and groundwater contamination until remedial actions are completed. When cleanup is completed the need for continuing these environmental restrictions is reevaluated.

McClellan Business Park will reuse and develop the property in accordance with the Final McClellan AFB Reuse Plan. General uses of the parcels includes light industrial, aircraft maintenance and repair, airfield taxiways and parking aprons, as well as manufacturing, assembly, warehouse and distribution activities.

Facilities transferred included:
· Aircraft aprons and maintenance areas
· Paint hangar and spray booths
· Landfills
· Storage areas
· Wash rack area
· Entomology building
· Parking areas
· Taxiways
· Grasslands
· Engine test locations
· Groundwater treatment plant
· Industrial wastewater treatment plant
· Gas station

In Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.'s letter to the Air Force approving the transfer, he noted, "State and federal law, as well as the agreements negotiated by the Air Force, the U.S. EPA, the Department of Toxic Substance Control, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and McClellan Business Park, provide that the transferred parcels will be properly remediated and re-used, while protecting human health and the environment."

Today, 14 years after the 2001 official closure, the former McClellan Air Force Base is now McClellan Business Park, a growing complex of hundreds of companies, as well as state, federal and local government agencies. Some 200 tenants employ an expanding workforce estimated at 15,000.