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Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Dare County Bombing Range , North Carolina

Program: Compatible Use

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Dare County Bombing Range , North Carolina

Dare County and Goldsboro City in North Carolina are working with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Dare County Bombing Range to plan for civilian growth that is compatible with the missions of the installations.

The State of North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Development Division served as the project sponsor and grantee for a 33-month Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) surrounding Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (AFB) and Dare County Bombing Range, which was completed in May 2017.  The City of Goldsboro; Counties of Beaufort, Bertie, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington, and Wayne; and adjacent communities in northeastern North Carolina were participants in the study. 

The State of North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Development Division JLUS represents a community-driven planning process among Seymour Johnson AFB, Dare County Bombing Range, and the surrounding communities to: promote compatible civilian development in support of military readiness and defense capabilities; protect public health, safety, general welfare, and quality of life; promote the economic viability of the communities; and foster continued communication among Seymour Johnson AFB, Dare County Bombing Range and the surrounding communities to address compatibility issues.  The JLUS planning process benefits both the military installation and its supporting communities by identifying existing and future land use conflicts, and where mitigation strategies, ordinances, and future planning may counter possible civilian development that may impair continued military operations.

Seymour Johnson AFB is located in Wayne County, within the City of Goldsboro corporate limits, approximately 45 miles southeast of Raleigh.  The base contains approximately 3,233 acres, with a single runway complex located within controlled airspace.  The Dare County Bombing Range is comprised of approximately 46,000 acres within the East Lake section of Dare County. The Navy operates the northern portion of this range under an Inter-Service Support Agreement with the Air Force.  The Air Force uses the southern portion, with the remainder of the range serving as a common safety buffer.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge surrounds the range. Because of its unique location near the Hampton Roads area, adjacent airspace, and the multitude of Air Force, Navy, and other users, the Dare County Bombing Range is in high demand and serves as a valuable operational and training asset.

The Air Force's greatest encroachment concerns are related to the Dare County Bombing Range and associated Military Training Routes (MTR) and MOAs, which are critical to Seymour Johnson's F-15E Strike Eagle mission.  The F-15E is required to maintain a low-altitude combat capability utilizing terrain following radar to enable low-altitude flight day or night, in all-weather conditions.  Dare County Bombing Range is the only low-level range that supports F-15E training.

Encroachment, specifically wind turbines, could have a significant impact on the ability of the installation to meet mission needs.  Other potential encroachment challenges to the military operations include:

  • Tall structure vertical obstruction
  • Radar interference
  • Doppler impact
  • Civil air traffic in the vicinity
  • Transmission line vertical obstructions
  • Noise-sensitive areas under the MTRs
  • Existing incompatible development within the Air Installation Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ)
  • Development of off-base flood zone property increasing on-base flooding
  • Risk of bird strikes related to the Goldsboro wastewater treatment facility,
  • Wildfire risks
  • Presence of endangered species at Dare County Bombing Range

The primary deliverables from the study effort include:

  • Public Involvement Plan
  • Project Website
  • Public Outreach Materials
  • Final JLUS Report (Including Supporting Maps)
  • JLUS Project Overview
  • JLUS Implementation Plan
  • Advisory Handbook for Rural Community Development Near Military Operations

Point of Contact:

Mr. William Best

North Carolina Department of Commerce

(301) 645-0650

Program: Compatible Use

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