Meridian Star

Local News

July 5, 2014

Local leaders to meet with military officials on future of base

MERIDIAN —     City and county officials will meet later this week to discuss options for supporting Naval Air Station Meridian.

    Members of the Meridian City Council, the Lauderdale Board of Supervisors, and the Marion Board of Aldermen and mayor have been invited to learn what they can do to make sure that growth in the area is compatible with the mission of NAS, according to a Department of Defense official.

    The meeting will be held Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the 1st Floor Board Room of the Raymond P. Davis County Annex Building. The public is welcome to attend.

    If DOD selects NAS for a Joint Land Use Study, it will provide technical and financial assistance to state and local governments to develop a study with NAS, according to a letter from the Patrick J. O'Brien, director of the DOD's Office of Economic Adjustment.

    In writing to Capt. Charles C. Moore, commanding officer, NAS, O'Brien said the objective of these studies is to "Identify measures needed to ensure that future public and private civilian development adjacent to your military installation is compatible with the mission of the installation."

    Jim Copeland, Community Plans and Liaisons officer for NAS, told county supervisors on Thursday that the meeting is not just about zoning issues near NAS for which the county recently formed a committee.

    "It's for all the things that counties, cities do to protect the military base," Copeland said.

    Information from the DOD's Office of Economic Adjustment publication, "Joint Land Use Study Program," spells out some of the concerns that arise near military installations.

    Among those concerns is the growth of civilian populations near the installation as people locate there to take advantage of job opportunities and to provide goods and services to the base, the JLUS report said.

    "As urban growth and development increased near and around military installations land use conflicts between base operations and civilian development increased," the report said. "When people and communities are exposed to irritating noise and accident potential, they seek relief.  Typically this results in public pressure on the military base commander to modify or curtail operations or transfer activities to other installations.  Mission constraints can lead to base closure."  

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