Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia are the home of the 3rd Infantry Division, and combine to be the Army's premier power projection platform on the Atlantic Coast with unique operations and assets. The combined 284,923 acres make it the largest base east of the Mississippi River. The region has experienced consistent historical growth, which is expected to continue as projections predict 50 percent growth over the next 20 years. The Army projects continued growth of military personnel at Fort Stewart from 21,424 to 25,910 by 2013. Increases in troop strength and training levels - in addition to the projected population growth - could generate encroachment-related conflicts around the Army post and sprawled development patterns in the surrounding communities, resulting in the need for good land use planning.
The counties surrounding Fort Stewart (Liberty, Bryan, Evans and Tattnall), in cooperation with its 12 municipalities, the Fort Stewart Deputy Garrison Commander, and a representative of the Georgia Military Affairs Commission, formed the Fort Stewart Growth Management Partnership to foster economic growth and to promote the general welfare of the region. Through the Partnership, the region had a process to find collaborative solutions to issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries. The resulting Fort Stewart Regional Growth Management Plan, in conjunction with the Fort Stewart Joint Land Use Study, addresses two primary concerns: minimizing encroachment around the Fort, and accommodating growth in the communities that surround it. Study recommendations promote mixed use and conservation subdivision development, diversified land uses so that the area will remain economically stable, development directed away from property bordering Fort Stewart, and a streamlined development process.
Implementation of the Regional Management Plan include initiatives around planning for regional water use, developing a strategy for economic diversification, addressing a shortage of healthcare providers, and updating local government land use regulations. After a year-long review of land development codes for the City of Hinesville and Liberty County, the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission will present the new codes to the city and county in early 2012. The codes will affect sign ordinances, subdivision development, and zoning uses. The Planning Commission and the Coastal Regional Commission continue to work with regional entities to improve to their local planning capacity, primarily with geographic information systems (GIS) to map areas of open space and to identify appropriate infrastructure expansion opportunities within the region.
To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth Profile, click here.