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Compatible Use Technical Assistance

Communities need to continue to grow and prosper to remain vibrant, and public safety and quality of life protected. OEA’s Organize, Plan, and Implement process can provide an opportunity for continued community development and economic growth, and to maintain the military’s ability to test and train.

How the Compatible Use Team Works

OEA’s Compatible Use team provides communities technical and financial assistance to partner with the military to study community development issues, create a plan, and implement the plan to sustain the military mission and promote community economic viability and quality of life. The Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) planning process supports this partnership. It is used to understand the growth needs of the community and the mission requirements of the installation and how to address them both.

In response to a Military Department nomination, an OEA project manager is assigned to provide expertise and guidance to assist both the communities and the military. Project managers are well trained and experts in the fields of planning, real estate, and economic development. Their technical support and guidance throughout the JLUS process can be invaluable to both the community and the military.


During this phase of the project, the OEA project manager will work with the community to identify a JLUS sponsor and stakeholders. Doing this at the outset of the project is critical to success, because ongoing support and communications will directly relate to how involved participants have been from the beginning. Typically, participants include representatives of the military installation, all jurisdictions adjacent to the installation, other jurisdictions that may be affected by the issue (be it noise, traffic, etc.). State agencies that oversee the issues under discussion may be involved as well.

This organizational phase of the process is the foundation for success of the compatible use project, and as such, can take as long as 12 months to complete.


The planning process may begin concurrent with the community organizing a single entity to sponsor and guide completion of the JLUS. This is where the jurisdictions, working with the OEA project manager and the installation representatives, identify the study area, define the compatible use issues, and develop the JLUS scope of work. The scope of work will include JLUS goals and objectives, methods of public involvement, an approach to assess the issues, and an implementation plan. It is important to note that the jurisdiction owns the JLUS process. The OEA project manager and other experts, along with the military installation, are there to help provide expert guidance and recommendations, but ultimately the JLUS is developed by and for the local community.

The OEA project manager works to ensure the JLUS is conducted in a collaborative manner involving all stakeholders, including the local elected officials, planning commissioners, local military base command staff, community business leaders, chambers of commerce, homebuilders, real estate interests, and affected residents.

Some of the issues a JLUS typically examines include:

  • The economic profile of the region and the impact of the military’s presence on the surrounding local economy;
  • The existing and proposed land use patterns and activities surrounding the military installation;
  • The most current technical reports from the relevant military branch about operational activities and requirements for the military mission;
  • Environmental factors such as natural cultural resources, wildlife habitat, on- and off-base air quality attainment, urban lighting (both direct and indirect), dust and smoke emissions, electromagnetic interference, and alternative energy development;
  • The extent of civilian development and how it is likely to impact the continued operational utility of the military installation; and
  • The current adopted and approved comprehensive/general plan, development policies of the local government, and existing land use regulations and codes.


Results are expected from the JLUS. Communities are asked to make a good faith commitment before the program is funded that study recommendations will be accepted and incorporated into local planning and community development decisions.

Recommendations in a JLUS are used to help local jurisdictions guide community development that protects and preserves military readiness and defense capabilities while supporting continued economic development and public health, safety, and general welfare of those living and working near an active military installation. The implementation measures may involve revisions to the community’s comprehensive plan and traditional land use and development controls, such as zoning, subdivision regulations, and structural height restrictions. The intent is to ensure that future public and private development around the military installation will be compatible with both the military mission and the needs of the community.

Compatible User Lighting Studies

Below are some examples of how cities, countries, and other localities limited outdoor lighting os as not to interfere with military training activities that used night vision equipment.


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