March 12, 2015 – Beaufort Gazette, By Erin Moody
The results of a land-use study intended to map out future needs for Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island are ready for review.
A draft of the Joint Land Use Study is available at http://www.lowcountry-jlus.org. A community workshop to introduce and discuss the results will be 5:30 p.m. March 19 at The Shed in Port Royal, 80 Paris Ave.
The study comes in two parts — one per military base. The Parris Island draft was released about a week ago, and the air station draft on Thursday afternoon.
Ginnie Kozak, planning director for the Lowcountry Council of Governments, said that because of the nature of the recruit depot and its location on an island, the Parris Island land use study doesn’t hold many surprises. One of the main concerns there is traffic backing up outside the gates onto Parris Island Gateway, which should be alleviated when the entrance gate is moved to the other side of the entrance causeway.
The main concerns with the air station center around noise, she said. Those concerns are also addressed in the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone -- the buffer zone around the air station designated for potential crashes and high jet noise -- released last year before F-35Bs began training.
“The big thing is (the reports) demonstrating the community and the military installations are working together,” Kozak said. “This area has a very good reputation with the Department of Defense with trying to work together and sort things out.”
The last study was completed in 2004, and work on this version began a year ago. The $211,000 project was paid for by Beaufort County, the city of Beaufort, the town of Port Royal and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment.
The military bases worked with the municipalities, the Lowcountry Council of Governments and consultants.
According to a press release, the objectives of the study were to:
- Assess existing land use conditions near both MCAS Beaufort and MCRD Parris Island, to include potential perceived incompatible land uses.
- Assess potential future civilian and military land use conditions, to include projected incompatible uses.
- Analyze Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) to provide a framework for assessing existing and future conditions and prioritizing recommendations
- Develop strategies to promote compatible land use planning around the Marine Corps installations and the surrounding communities.
The study looks at airspace and land restrictions, noise, urban growth, environment and security, among other things. It also includes a tiered implementation plan for projects with timeframes, costs, responsible parties and funding.
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.