Land Use Study Commences at Patuxent River
An 18-month study funded through a grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) and the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland is now underway in the area in and around the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent (Pax) River, Maryland. The Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) is being conducted in hopes of reducing conflict between the military installation and surrounding community while also supporting the missions and objectives of each.
The Office of Economic Adjustment acknowledges that military bases and residents adjacent to military installations are often in conflict. Residents can be exposed to unacceptable noise levels and hazards and the warfighter’s training and readiness can be impaired by the normal activities of civilian life. Therefore joint planning efforts can help to resolve some of these inevitable conflicts.
The Pax JLUS is organizing to promote understanding, encourage cooperative land use and resource planning collaboration and coordinate strategic actions that will support the goals of each interest. The study will support the tri county area that includes Southern Maryland’s NAS Pax River installation.
JLUSs have been organized in other areas as well and have proven to be very beneficial. The resulting benefits of such a study include:
-Protecting the health and safety of residents living or working near military installations.
-Preserving long-term land use compatibility between the installation and the surrounding community.
-Promoting comprehensive community planning.
-Encouraging a cooperative spirit between the local base command and local community officials.
-Integrating the local jurisdictions' comprehensive plans with the installation's plans.
Some of the compatibility factors that the organizers hope to address in the study are sub divided into three major categories: man-made factors, natural resources and scarce resource competition.
The study area includes military usage issues related to the following in the Southern Maryland/northern Neck Virginia areas:
-Chesapeake Test Range
-Military airspace with associated special uses airspace
-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) airspace
-Noise contours and complaints
The kick off meetings began this week throughout the region. The purpose of these meetings is to provide an overview of what a JLUS is, its process and its anticipated outcomes and time frame. Additionally, the NAS Patuxent River Complex will present their mission to "educate the public about military activities and operations and associated impacts in the study area". Upon completion of the study it is hoped that the JLUS will become a framework for strategically and collaboratively making land use decisions that will maximize the benefits for each of the unique communities within the Southern Maryland region.
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy