Camp Swift is a Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG) Training Center on Federal property licensed to the Texas Army National Guard. The installation comprises 11,740 acres and is classified as a Maneuver Training Center-Light (MTC-L) with both pre-mobilization and institutional training missions. The base serves as the TXARNG primary site for pre-mobilization training and is the preferred training center for the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Camp Swift has nine live-fire ranges, which include a Light Demolition Range, an Improvised Explosive Devise Lane, an air assault course, and a Drop Zone for airborne training. The average annual usage is 150,000 “Man Days,” which equates to 411 soldiers training each day. Camp Swift has the training capacity for up to 1,200 soldiers.
Camp Swift is located nine miles north of the City of Bastrop, and twelve miles south of the City of Elgin in Bastrop County, east of the rapidly expanding Austin metropolitan area. Transportation corridors with projected growth include Highway 95 (north-south) on the installation's western boundary and U.S. Highway 290 (east-west) on the northern boundary. The areas to the north and south of the installation in Bastrop County are experiencing significant residential growth that is likely to impair mission operations. As this regional growth continues, noise and light from adjacent communities will interfere with night training, and noise complaints from operational training may increase. Bastrop County has no zoning authority to guide growth. However, the City of Bastrop has extra-territorial jurisdiction that stretches west and may grow north to include land adjacent to the southern boundary of the base, providing a mechanism for land use planning.
The Lost Pines Habitat Conservation Plan covers approximately 124,000 acres in Bastrop County and provides a program to minimize and mitigate expected impacts to the endangered Houston Toad, which are arising due to human encroachment on its habitat. The eastern boundary of Camp Swift is along the western boundary of this conservation plan. There is the potential to limit training if regional growth to the north and south of Camp Swift pushes the Houston Toad onto the installation.
Joint Land Use Study Planning Process
The Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) provides the Cities of Bastrop and Elgin, and Bastrop County, the opportunity to prevent urban development from adversely impacting the training and operational missions at Camp Swift. The Texas Army National Guard Statewide Operational Noise Management Plan, completed in November 2009, provides noise contours, weapon ranges, and complaint risks to support the JLUS effort.
The City of Bastrop will serve as the local sponsor for the JLUS, in coordination with Bastrop County. The City will establish two committees to provide support and guidance during the JLUS planning process - JLUS Policy Committee and JLUS Technical Advisory Committee. The community has identified two primary goals for the Camp Swift JLUS:
- encourage cooperative land use planning between the military installation and the surrounding jurisdictions so that future civilian growth and development are compatible with the training or operational mission of the installations; and
- find strategies to reduce the operation impacts on the adjacent lands, including environmental impacts of those operations.
The Camp Swift JLUS will address at a minimum the following topics:
- economic profile of the region and the impact of the military's presence on the surrounding local economy;
- existing and proposed land use patterns and activities surrounding the military installation;
- technical reports prepared by the military such as the Environmental Noise Management Plan, and types of military equipment in training operations;
- environmental factors such as cultural resources, wildlife habitat, endangered species, water availability and quality, air quality, lighting, noise, and agriculture;
- conservation techniques or other designations for compatibility with sensitive receptors in the area of the Camp;
- civilian encroachment and how likely it is to impair the continued operational utility of the military installation;
- adopted comprehensive plans and development policies of the surrounding local governments;
- recent and planned development activity, including proposed development and possible development permitted under current general plan designations and zoning; and
- areas of existing and potential future incompatible land use.
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