November 18, 2013 9:01:58 AM
Through Nov. 29, Lowndes County supervisors are requesting proposals from consultants to implement recommendations from a joint land use study on property at neighboring Columbus Air Force Base.
The Golden Triangle Development Link collaborated with Matrix Design Group using grant funds to conduct the study earlier this year, which included a series of public hearings. Mary Cates Williams, Link executive vice president for governmental affairs and business development, said the main finding of the study was that someone with planning experience was needed to review all land around the base that could be utilized for economic development but work collaboratively with CAFB to ensure nothing is done that would compromise any of the base's activities.
A joint land use study is a land use planning effort between a military institution, surrounding counties, as well as state and federal agencies.
Williams said the county has now received another grant through the U.S. Department of Defense's office of economic adjustment that would be used to pay the salary of a planner to make sure the maps defining land use of property around CAFB are up to date. That will allow officials to better determine what property would be suitable for certain types of development long term while ensuring no overlap between what the city or county may want to do and what CAFB already does.
"The ultimate goal of this is to ensure any development projects that come along do not interfere with Columbus Air Force Base's mission," Williams said. "We want to support the base and its mission. It's one of the biggest parts of the community."
Factors considered in the initial study included land use, safety zones, noise, air quality, water quality and natural resources, among several others considerations.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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