August 19, 2015 – The Day, By Kimberly Drelich
A study will consider how the Stones Ranch Military Reservation and its three neighboring towns can plan for the future, without impeding each other’s growth.
Residents are being invited to share comments on ways the communities and the Connecticut Army National Guard could plan for areas near Stones Ranch in East Lyme, Old Lyme and Lyme, as well as Camp Niantic in East Lyme.
The first public meeting for the Joint Land Use Study will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Regional Training Institute Auditorium at Camp Niantic.
“The primary objective of the JLUS is to reduce potential conflicts in order to accommodate planned growth and to protect public health and safety while sustaining the operational missions of the installations and the economic benefits they provide to the region,” according to a news release from the town of East Lyme.
The study will consider land use, noise, water quality, roadway capacity and safety zones, among other factors, according to the release.
East Lyme has received a $161,770 grant from the Department of Defense to conduct a Joint Land Use Study, according to the town’s planning office.
East Lyme and Old Lyme are contributing in-kind planning services for the study.
According to an earlier request for proposals on the study, the study also will analyze potential encroachment issues that could affect the two sites and the community.
It is intended to “protect and ensure the continued viability of the operational and training mission” of Stones Ranch and Camp Niantic, develop a “workable land exchange dialogue” among the entities and protect the health, safety and welfare of residents in the three towns.
East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson said Wednesday that similar studies have been done near military installations across the country.
He said the study will identify the future plans of Stones Ranch, as well as surrounding communities, and create an open dialogue.
“They want to be good neighbors,” he said. “I think this will identify their needs, and our needs and wishes as a host town.”
Nickerson added that the final report will serve as a reference for the Planning and Zoning Commissions in the three towns.
At this week’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder pointed out that in some cases it makes sense to set aside land near a military reservation as open space.
In Old Lyme’s case, she said, there is land that the town has wanted to conserve as open space.
She encouraged the public and members of town commissions and boards to attend the public meeting.
The grant agreement sets next August as the deadline to complete the study, but the towns could ask for an extension if necessary, according to the East Lyme planning office.
In addition to public workshops, the study involves meetings of policy and technical committees comprising representatives from the three communities, the military and state agencies.
More information on the study is available at www.stonesranchjlus.com.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.