Article Comment 

Study shows good rapport between community, CAFB

 

Matrix Vice President Mike Hrapla

Matrix Vice President Mike Hrapla

 

 

Nathan Gregory

 

The third and final public meeting designed to inform the public about the preparation of a joint land use study was held Tuesday at the Caledonia YMCA building. 

 

The study is a collaborative planning effort on land use between the Golden Triangle Development Link, the Columbus Air Force Base, Lowndes County, the city of Columbus and other area agencies. 

 

The Link worked in collaboration with Matrix Design Group to prepare a draft of the study, which the public is allowed to comment on until May 31.  

 

Matrix Vice President Mike Hrapla said the goal of the study is to protect the viability of current and future missions at the Air Force base and foster growth and business while protecting public health and safety. 

 

"Our role really isn't a consulting role in the traditional sense. We're not here to develop something, give it to (stakeholders) and let (them) review, comment and we put it back. We're subject matter experts and facilitators of the process because this is a community process," Hrapla said. "It's a community document and it's being developed by those committees that are made up of members of the community. Ultimately this study and the portions that are associated with the county and selection of the city are related to how those jurisdictions are looking to address compatibility today and in the future, so it's really a community tool." 

 

Hrapla said that in a number of areas, people working on the draft of the study found that the community and CAFB had a "very good scenario" in terms of the balance between state economic development and the military mission. 

 

"Part of what we're looking at is how to protect or sustain that compatible development into the future. At the same time, there are some areas of concern, and we're looking at proactive measures to try to address those," Hrapla said, which included potential restrictions of property rights and the effects on property values if regulations or restrictions are applied to properties near CAFB. 

 

The study addresses compatibility factors related to those issues, including land use, safety zones, noise, water quality, roadway capacity and energy development among others. 

 

More information on the JLUS draft can be found at columbusjlus.com and comments on the draft report may be submitted to Link Executive Vice President of Government Relations Mary Cates Williams at mwilliams@gtrlink.org.

 

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.

 

 

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