October 2011 - By: Rachel Wiggins, PE, CPLO, NAS Fort Worth JRB & Tamara Cook, AICP, Principal Transportation Planner, North Central Texas COG
In an effort to ensure land use compatibility near military installations, it is important that all stakeholders have a chance to be in the review process for new projects. If the review is timely, incompatible uses can be headed off or modified before the proponent has a big investment in the project. This sort of review can be difficult in the airfield environs, where the stakeholders include multiple communities and levels of government. For those communities and governments in the vicinity of Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, a web-based tool has helped facilitate the review process.
In March 2008, the local governments surrounding NAS Fort Worth JRB completed a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS). At the conclusion of the study, the six participating cities, Tarrant County, and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) adopted a resolution in support of the base and its current and future operations. As part of this resolution, seventeen specific measures were identified for local action, including the creation of a committee to oversee the long-term implementation of JLUS recommendations and a related intergovernmental Development Review Process.
A project in the website environment
In response to these recommendations, in March 2008, the Regional Coordination Committee (or RCC) was formed, to carry forward the recommendations put into place by the JLUS Policy Committee. The group is comprised of voting members from the local cities and county, with non-voting members from the base, Lockheed Martin, local Chambers of Commerce, and NCTCOG.
Comments submitted as part of project review
In 2009, the RCC’s Development Review Webtool went live. On this publicly-viewable website, participants are able to upload details about upcoming zoning cases, economic development proposals, and similar land use changes for review and comment by their peers at surrounding local governments. The RCC established these reviews as a voluntary process hosted in an online forum to improve dialogue about development near the installation and to increase access to quality, consistent information across the board.
To date, 27 projects have been reviewed via the Development Review Webtool, and the vast majority of them have received positive feedback from the peer group, including NAS Fort Worth JRB. Several projects have also received feedback that helped to increase the project’s overall compatibility with the installation’s mission – before any dirt was turned.
Letter sent to project proponent
When a project has been reviewed on the website, it generates a letter from the RCC Chairman to the project proponent for inclusion in staff reports to City Council and Planning and Zoning Commissions. City staffs have expressed their appreciation that they receive something on RCC letterhead which describes a given project’s impact on the installation and its flying mission. This has enabled staff members to easily illustrate that due diligence has been accomplished in coordinating with the base during the planning and development process.
The success of the Development Review Webtool continues to grow as more cities use the tool to enter project information early in their planning reviews. It has increased intergovernmental communication, information-sharing, and compatible development awareness, and it has provided official documentation to each participating city about the impact that development proposals have on the installation’s mission.
The website is hosted by the North Central Texas Council of Governments (COG). Its original creation was funded as part of a Joint Land Use Study implementation grant through the Office of Economic Adjustment. A publicly viewable version of the website is available online at: http://www.nctcog.org/trans/aviation/rcc_review/projects_public.asp. More information about the RCC’s work is available at http://www.nctcog.org/rcc.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.