Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is located in Camden County, adjacent to the City of St. Marys, a semi-rural area in southeastern Georgia, 40 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida. Kings Bay is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's home port for U.S. Navy's Fleet ballistic missile submarines armed with Trident missile nuclear weapons. This submarine base contains approximately 16,000 acres of land, of which 4,000 acres are protected wetlands.
Joint Land Use Study Planning Process
Available land next to the base is under development, being developed, or is experiencing development pressure because of proximity to prime water frontage. Recreational boating activity creates logistical problems for the base by affecting the timing and efficiency of naval operations, making it challenging for the United States Coast Guard to maintain the appropriate security buffer between submarine and civilian boats. Proposed marinas, which will have the combined capacity to dock 800 boats, are expected to increase recreational boat traffic around Coast Guard escort missions and incursions into waterways required to support base mission security. Other recreational amenities associated with the residential and marina development also may hinder military operations.
The St. Marys Airport presents a security concern with potential air accidents and incidents within base boundaries. While a no-fly zone over Kings Bay exists, pilots still violate the existing airspace restrictions. There have been eight air space intrusions and four airplane crashes within base boundaries over the last ten years. Such breaches represent the greatest concern, potentially compromising the military operations.
Camden County is serving as the local sponsor for the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) project. The Camden County Joint Development Authority (JDA) Board of Directors will serve as the JLUS Policy Committee. The JDA, an entity of Camden County, functions as a multi-jurisdictional economic and community development agency serving Camden County and the three cities of Kingsland, St. Marys, and Woodbine. The City of St. Marys will manage, oversee, and coordinate the project, along with the JLUS Policy, Technical, and Technical Support committees, and various stakeholder advisory groups.
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