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Hampton, VA

Historically, military installations were located in remote areas, due largely to the availability of land and for security purposes. Over time, however, installations drew both people and businesses closer to take advantage of civilian job opportunities offered by the installation and to provide the goods and services to support the installation’s operations. The increased number of people and businesses, in some cases, has impacted the military’s ability to effectively train and accomplish the military mission.

Through the Compatible Use Program, OEA works collaboratively with communities as well as the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps to protect the military’s mission nationwide by identifying existing or potential future land use conflicts and/or incompatible development.

OEA provides technical and financial assistance to communities to conduct a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS), normally a one-year, cooperative land-use planning effort between a local government and a military installation. The study presents recommendations for the community to adopt in an effort to promote compatible development and to protect public health, safety, and welfare while ensuring the mission of the installation is upheld.

The JLUS effort can directly benefit both the jurisdiction and the installation by:

  • Protecting the health and safety of residents living or working near military installations
  • Preserving long-term land use compatibility between the installation and the surrounding community
  • Promoting comprehensive community planning
  • Encouraging a cooperative spirit between the local base command and local community officials
  • Integrating the local jurisdiction’s comprehensive plans with the installation’s plans

The recommendations resulting from this study help local governments, land owners, businesses and others ensure compatible development and minimal impact to the military’s mission. These recommendations can be regulatory (zoning and structural height restrictions) or voluntary (land exchanges and sales). Some examples include establishment of military overlay districts with specific land use and zoning requirements, unified development ordinances, amendments to capital improvement plan, transfer of development rights, building code sound attenuation measures, real estate disclosures, lighting ordinances, and local development review procedures to ensure input from the military.

JLUS Project Process

When a Military Service believes civilian growth and development may impair the military mission, the Service may nominate the installation as a JLUS candidate.

OEA project managers will visit the installation and meet with the local base command and local government officials. OEA will evaluate existing or potential compatible use issues as well as local development controls to determine if a JLUS is justified. If there is interest from both the base commander and the local jurisdiction, OEA may provide a Community Planning Assistance grant to the community to conduct the JLUS.

A JLUS is usually completed in 12 months, although more or less time may be required based on community consensus and outside factors.

OEA Experience with JLUS

To date, state or local jurisdictions have completed 93 JLUS projects, and more than 70 are currently underway. Regardless of size and scope, OEA project managers have worked directly with military installations and communities to ensure that the safety of the community and the mission of the military base remain intact.

For further information, see Joint Land Use Study Program Guidance Manual or The Practical Guide to Compatible Civilian Development Near Military Installations.

To learn more information about the JLUS Program, watch our video The Base Next Door.

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