Sheppard Air Force Base (AFB) is comprised of 5,297 total acres (4,598 Department of Defense owned) located five miles northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas, within Wichita County. The installation's primary missions are the thirteen nation Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program and Department of Defense’s joint service enlisted technical training in logistics, civil engineering, and aircraft maintenance. The base is the largest and most diversified training center in the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, host to the 82nd Training Wing and 80th Flying Training Wing, which in 2010 graduated a combined 80,304 trainees and flew 66,000 sorties. Because of the heavy volume of flight training at Sheppard AFB, the installation has a long-term lease for an outlying public airport field and facilities, approximately 40 miles north of the base in Frederick, Oklahoma.
Joint Land Use Study Planning Process
The Air Force nominated Sheppard AFB as a candidate for the JLUS program due to concerns about residential growth north of the base, and the potential for high voltage power distribution lines and associated alternative energy development having a negative impact on flight operations. The proposed high voltage power distribution lines north of the base between the Clear Zone and the recently incorporated Town of Cashion will enable private land owners across the region to economically connect future wind turbines to the Texas power grid. Uncontrolled wind farm development across the region could significantly impair flight operations around the installation.
The City of Wichita Falls will serve as the project sponsor for the JLUS which will have four (4) key objectives:
- To protect the health, safety and welfare of the civilian and military communities near Sheppard AFB;
- To identify and recommend appropriate regulatory and non-regulatory actions that may be implemented to ensure future land use compatibility between the local governments and the military operations;
- To continue to foster increased communication between Sheppard AFB and the surrounding local governments and communities; and
- To build a database in order to continue to conduct thorough analysis of the development activities and growth patterns of the study area.
Participating jurisdictions include the cities of Wichita Falls, Burkburnett, Iowa Park and Cashion, Texas; Wichita Falls County; and Frederick, Oklahoma. All participants have seats on both the JLUS Policy Committee and Technical Committee, providing guidance throughout the study process. The JLUS effort will identify locations where land use conflicts between the civilian population and the military installation are presently occurring or could occur in the future. The overall study outcome will ensure Sheppard AFB can continue and/or expand its missions in the future while ensuring the civilian interests are protected. The study will also address potential conflicts affecting the auxiliary field in Frederick, Oklahoma.
The desired outcome of this planning project is three-fold:
- Development of a thorough and complete regional, recommended land use compatibility implementation strategy;
- Increased public awareness regarding the Base’s missions coupled with the understanding that incompatible development may be detrimental to the long-term viability of a military installation and subject to additional scrutiny in the event of future BRAC rounds or federal budget reductions for the Air Force; and
- Protection of the health, safety and welfare of the civilian and military communities.
A JLUS can provide the participating communities an opportunity to adopt planning doctrine to prevent urban encroachment from adversely impacting the training mission at Sheppard AFB. City and County officials across the region desire to explore compatible land use strategies, including Airport Influence Planning Districts, disclosures, and avigation easements.
Community Website: Not Yet Available