Fort Stewart is located approximately 40 miles southwest of Savannah and is used primarily for training infantry, armor, artillery, mechanized units, and special forces, and serves as a rapid deployment facility. In addition to a number of small cities and towns, six counties have jurisdiction on property surrounding the installation. Hunter Army Airfield (HAAF) is part of the Fort Stewart complex. The 5,370-acre HAAF is located 35 miles east of Fort Stewart and is within the city limits of Savannah.
The Army nominated Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield for a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) in February 2003 due to concerns about current and future urbanization and development of land adjacent to Fort Stewart and the airfield that could adversely affect the viability of both the military training environment and aircraft operations. The Coastal Georgia Regional Commission served as the study sponsor with participation from Bryan, Effingham, Chatham, Liberty, Long, and Evans Counties; the Cities of Hinesville, Savannah, Pooler, Bloomingdale, Pembroke, Richmond Hill, Glennville, Gum Branch, Allenhurst, Flemington, and Walthourville; the Heart of Georgia-Altamaha Regional Development Center; and Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield. The JLUS team identified two tiers of participants: those communities directly adjacent to Fort Stewart/HAAF facilities; and other jurisdictions within the five-mile regional influence of the military installation. The ultimate goal of the JLUS was to reduce potential land use conflicts, accommodate growth, and sustain the regional economy. Completed in September 2005, the JLUS serves as an ongoing guide to local government and Army actions to enhance compatibility around Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield and strengthen the civilian-military relationship.
The participating JLUS jurisdictions incorporated into their respective comprehensive plans the need to promote compatible development in support of the military mission. In December 2008, the Coastal Georgia Regional Commission, with support from Fort Stewart, began a multi-faceted approach to implement the JLUS recommendations with a number of implementation actions accomplished to date. All participating counties and the City of Hinesville entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Fort Stewart to ensure installation comment on all proposed development. Liberty and Evans Counties are seeking Georgia Department of Natural Resources funding to assist the Army with acquisition of conservation buffers around the installation. Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission prepared zoning ordinances to promote compatible development in both Liberty and Long Counties.
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