CAMP ZAMA, Japan – U.S. Army Garrison Japan leadership held a housing town hall at the newly renovated auditorium here Tuesday as an opportunity to seek feedback from residents and update them on new developments.
Col. Christopher L. Tomlinson, commander of USAG Japan, began the meeting by outlining what would be discussed, which included ongoing projects, safety tips and results from a tenant satisfaction survey.
“Everybody is entitled to safe, healthy housing,” Tomlinson told the audience members. “And part of that is having an iterative process through town hall meetings of getting feedback from the customer.”
For the past three fiscal years, he said, the Camp Zama community has ranked in the top five in customer satisfaction out of 23 garrisons that have family housing owned or leased by the Army. It is currently on track to have a more than 87% satisfaction rating this fiscal year.
“We’re doing things right,” the colonel said. “We’re trending in the right direction, but it’s these venues to get your feedback that we can continue to make progress and address the needs of our Soldiers, civilians and their families.”
Jesus Chavarria, acting chief of the garrison’s Housing Management Division, spoke on the accessibility of playgrounds on Camp Zama and nearby Sagamihara Family Housing Area, or SHA.
Both posts have a total of 23 playgrounds, with seven of them currently closed on Camp Zama due to renovations and maintenance requirements. One of the playground projects in Crane Acres is slated to be completed next month, he said, while projects at two others in Crane Acres and Chapel Hill will finish in June.
Four playgrounds at Mountain View, Honshu Heights and Kite Peak will be under renovation soon, he said, adding that Dewey Park and the parks in Wooldridge Village can serve as alternate play areas for children.
Several homes have also been slated for renovation, including two quarters at Eagles Nest, 12 homes at Kite Peak, and 20 homes at Crane Acres. Residents affected by the upcoming renovations will be notified well in advance and their move will be funded by the government, Chavarria said.
Chiller units at the Honshu Heights and Mountain View towers on Camp Zama are set to be replaced in late May and next January, respectively. A backup chiller will be available to support Mountain View residents in the meantime, Chavarria said.
Starting on or about April 21, there will be no heat until cooling can start on May 8 for homes tied to the central plant. The extra time is required to flush and clean out aging systems before they can be turned on again.
Tomlinson understood the delay may result in some uncomfortable temperatures at home, but noted that the process should be faster in the future as older systems are replaced.
“You have to gauge it just right,” he said. “So I appreciate your patience during this time.”
With hot and humid weather approaching, Chavarria noted that residents should follow prescribed housekeeping and preventive measures to avoid the overgrowth of mold in their homes.
He shared tips on how to prevent mold, such as closing doors and windows when the A/C is on, running the bathroom fan when showering, keeping the humidity under 50%, and quickly notifying the housing office of any signs of water leaks or mold.
“The key to mold prevention is to control moisture and condensation,” he said.
If someone thinks they or their family member has a health issue related to mold conditions, Chavarria said they should contact their health care provider and the Housing Division’s Facilities Maintenance Branch at DSN 263-4754/5859/5952. The Directorate of Public Works service desk can also be reached at DSN 263-4274/4613 to report the issue. Use “046-407” and the last four digits if calling from a cellphone.
As the peak summer moving season nears, residents will soon be able to participate in community yard sales, Chavarria said. Yard sales at SHA can only take place on the second Saturday of May and September. While at Camp Zama, they will be held on the second Saturday of June and October. The times for all events will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chavarria also offered advice on the crows in the area that may behave aggressively during their mating season in the summer.
He suggested residents to keep garbage cans secured so they don’t become a food source for the birds, clear their yards of toys and other items that may interest them, and, if needed, carry an umbrella to defend themselves while walking.
Residents can call the DPW service desk if they experience aggressive behavior, as well as for various emergency or urgent work orders. Routine work orders can be requested at www.ArmyMaintenance.com.
In closing, Tomlinson said he appreciated the input the garrison receives from residents and encouraged them to continue providing it.
“If you have additional information [or questions], please reach out to our housing team or to the command group and let us know what your concerns might be,” he said. “That feedback means a lot to us and it helps us get just a little bit better.”