The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decisions named Eglin as the recipient of two significant new missions -- the relocation of the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the stand up of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Training Center. To assist local communities impacted by this growth, the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment stepped in to provide technical and financial assistance with local planning efforts. Okaloosa County is serving as the Executive Agent for the effort on behalf of all the affected jurisdictions in the three-county area.

Two separate, integrated study efforts were undertaken.  First the Joint Land Use Study, conducted under the auspices of the JLUS Policy Committee, with assistance from the JLUS Technical Advisory Group was begun in August 2006. The study was conducted by Tetra Tech, Inc. from their Destin office and completed in June 2009. For more information on the JLUS, click here.

Secondly, a Comprehensive Tri-County Growth Management Plan was conducted under the auspices of the Eglin Installation Growth Committee, an 11-subcommittee group of elected officials, community and county staff members and interested citizens. The citizen subcommittees formed the nucleus of subject matter experts available to assist the consultant firm hired to conduct the study, HDR. This effort was formally launched in November 2008 and the final report was received in June 2010. For more information on the EIGC and the Growth Study, click here.

A key recommendation from the JLUS was to conduct Small Area Studies of the areas to the north and east of the Eglin Reservation.  The Small Area Studies was funded by the Office of Economic Adjustment and begun in April 2011.   The studies were completed in October 2012 by the consultant, Matrix Design Group.  The Final Report and other information on the Small Area Studies can be accessed at the link below.

Along with the start-up of the Small Area Studies, the Tri-County Military Sustainability Partnership was formed through interlocal agreements between Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties, and many of the municipalities within the three counties.   The Executive Committee of the Military Sustainability Partnership is comprised of a representative and an alternate designated by each jurisdiction.  The work of the Executive Committee is assisted by the Military Growth Advisory Group which is comprised of technical experts, planning and engineering staff personnel from the participating jurisdictions.  These groups are intended to be an ongoing partnership after all the studies are completed to continue the support and promotion of the military presence in our Tri-County area.  This will be the focus of the area's response in future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds that may be mandated by Congress.

Click here to see the Final JLUS Report.

Click here to see the Final Tri-County Growth Management Plan.

Click here to see the Final Atlas of Existing Conditions for the Tri-County Growth Management Plan.

Click here to see the Final JLUS Small Area Studies Report.

 

The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decisions named Eglin as the recipient of two significant new missions -- the relocation of the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the stand up of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Training Center. To assist local communities impacted by this growth, the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment stepped in to provide technical and financial assistance with local planning efforts. Okaloosa County is serving as the Executive Agent for the effort on behalf of all the affected jurisdictions in the three-county area.

Two separate, integrated study efforts were undertaken.  First the Joint Land Use Study, conducted under the auspices of the JLUS Policy Committee, with assistance from the JLUS Technical Advisory Group was begun in August 2006. The study was conducted by Tetra Tech, Inc. from their Destin office and completed in June 2009. For more information on the JLUS, click here.

Secondly, a Comprehensive Tri-County Growth Management Plan was conducted under the auspices of the Eglin Installation Growth Committee, an 11-subcommittee group of elected officials, community and county staff members and interested citizens. The citizen subcommittees formed the nucleus of subject matter experts available to assist the consultant firm hired to conduct the study, HDR. This effort was formally launched in November 2008 and the final report was received in June 2010. For more information on the EIGC and the Growth Study, click here.

A key recommendation from the JLUS was to conduct Small Area Studies of the areas to the north and east of the Eglin Reservation.  The Small Area Studies was funded by the Office of Economic Adjustment and begun in April 2011.   The studies were completed in October 2012 by the consultant, Matrix Design Group.  The Final Report and other information on the Small Area Studies can be accessed at the link below.

Along with the start-up of the Small Area Studies, the Tri-County Military Sustainability Partnership was formed through interlocal agreements between Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties, and many of the municipalities within the three counties.   The Executive Committee of the Military Sustainability Partnership is comprised of a representative and an alternate designated by each jurisdiction.  The work of the Executive Committee is assisted by the Military Growth Advisory Group which is comprised of technical experts, planning and engineering staff personnel from the participating jurisdictions.  These groups are intended to be an ongoing partnership after all the studies are completed to continue the support and promotion of the military presence in our Tri-County area.  This will be the focus of the area's response in future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds that may be mandated by Congress.

Click here to see the Final JLUS Report.

Click here to see the Final Tri-County Growth Management Plan.

Click here to see the Final Atlas of Existing Conditions for the Tri-County Growth Management Plan.

Click here to see the Final JLUS Small Area Studies Report.

 

JOINT LAND USE STUDY
POLICY COMMITTEE
June 29, 2009

MINUTES

 

The Joint Land Use Study Policy Committee meeting was held June 29, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. in the Third Floor Large Conference Room, Okaloosa County Water and Sewer Building, 1804 Lewis Turner Boulevard, Fort Walton Beach.  Attendee list is provided below (Attachment 1).

Commissioner Bill Roberts, Policy Committee chairman, called the meeting to order and then went around the table and room for introductions.  Mr. Rich Tenga, Office of Economic Adjustment, participated remotely in the meeting via speaker phone.  

Chairman Roberts then turned the meeting over to Jeff Fanto, Growth Project Coordinator, with a couple of administrative announcements.  He then turned the meeting over to Michael Bomar, Vice President, Tetra Tech Inc. for the formal presentation.

Mr. Bomar reviewed the agenda for the day’s meeting.  He reviewed the outcome of the last Policy Committee meeting where 20 recommendations passed in a vote by this body.  Eight of the 20 were passed by a margin of 6-1, the remaining passed unanimously; two recommendations were removed from the document.  The committee then authorized the release of the Draft JLUS document, plus added two more public meetings so that each county would have its own public forum.  An additional Policy Committee was also directed to be held before the release of the final JLUS document.  Since the JLUS began over two years ago, over 17 public meetings have been held, a variety have been specific Joint Land Use Study meetings, whether at the individual jurisdiction level or in a Policy Committee public forum. 

Next was a review of the public comments received during this review period.  Comments were received from the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee, the City of Valparaiso, Eglin Air Force Base, American Farms Zoning Awareness Group, and two comments from the general public.  Mayor Anderson asked if we had ever received the City of Fort Walton Beach comments as they were not mentioned.  Mr. Bomar advised that we had already received their comments on the Interim Draft JLUS, but nothing since then.  The Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee comments consisted of a 2-page e-mail input dealing with Recommendation #7 for Santa Rosa County, which reads “To implement Comprehensive Plan amendments discouraging additional marine navigation channels or land cuts, artificial reefs, or other proposed activities increasing marine traffic in controlled firing areas.”  The item of importance pulled from this comment was that this group suggested the recommendation be fine-tuned or at least recognized to include specific exception for snorkeling and diving reefs, or fishing piers in Santa Rosa Sound that are accessible by swimmers and pedestrians from shore.  Mr. Bomar said the focus here is not to increase boat traffic; their suggestion is that if there is this type of activity accessible from shore, that it is not included in such a recommendation.   Mr. Fanto then asked if either Commissioner Salter or Beckie Cato from Santa Rosa County had any comment on this input.  The Commissioner advised that he has discussed this with staff and that with regard to the snorkeling area, the new pier that the County is currently building, the snorkeling activity would take place in the general vicinity of that new pier and that he didn’t see it sprawling to the east or west or the deeper water.  He felt it was basically in the same footprint they have now.  Ms. Cato agreed, but then posed another question about the controlled firing area as depicted in the study maps as compared with Eglin’s RAICUZ maps.  Mr. Bomar responded that they are the same maps in both this JLUS and the RAICUZ.  Mr. Fanto then asked Commissioner Salter if he believed the wording of the JLUS recommendation was adequate for Santa Rosa County.  The Commissioner deferred to Ms. Cato who advised the wording is adequate.  Commissioner Salter interjected that the recommendation is adequate and that he is comfortable taking it back to the full Board for their consideration.

Mr. Bomar continued with the next comment from the City of Valparaiso.  He advised that we received staff comments back when the draft was being reviewed and that the most recent comment from the City was a letter from the Mayor and subsequent response from PC Chairman Roberts, all provided for the Committee’s review.  Mr. Fanto interjected that in addition to these materials just referenced, staff has also included separate verbiage in response to concerns raised about the data being used in the study.  The desire is for the Committee to endorse the inclusion of this statement in the JLUS to further clarify the data used, how it was used, and what its intent is.  He further stated that during discussions as part of the staff’s work, there is still concern over how the JLUS is being done.  This statement is an effort to ensure clear delineation between Environmental Impact Statements and the Joint Land Use Study, along with all the supporting documentation received in support of the study.   Mr. Bob Black commented that he doesn’t necessarily have a problem with how this specific statement is written, but his question was at a higher level.  His understanding is that this study is effectively a Phase I JLUS and that there will have to be a Phase II.  From a Congressional standpoint as well as different conversations with the Air Staff, it is reality that the noise contours will change, we just don’t know to what right now.  His understanding was that Phase I was to look at those things that were rock solid and wouldn’t be impacted by the Supplemental EIS (SEIS) or had a high probability they would not be affected by the SEIS.  Conversely, those things that would be impacted, the value of doing this now and continuing on was that, not that anyone was going to put into play an acquisition program or noise attenuation program at this time, is that the noise contours in there right now (the current JLUS) is not that it is the area that has to be attenuated right now.  Rather, as a worst case, it provides a basis to look at the demographics of the type of structures that would be impacted.  This would provide enough detail such that the recommendations would provide for a study that would, in turn, provide standards that would address these facilities and structures and come up with a methodology of how to cost out.  As a result, when the final lines were in the study, the methodology and knowledge would already be in place to rapidly do the cost estimate of what would be required, regardless of funding source.  He then expressed his concern using the term “Final” JLUS, when in fact it will result in a Phase I/Phase II study.  He thinks the clarification will help the citizens understand this better.  Chairman Roberts responded that he didn’t have a problem with Mr. Black’s suggestion.  Mr. Black said he would be happy to work with whomever to craft such wording for the document.  Mayor Anderson then asked if the title needed to be reworded as the “Phase I JLUS?”  Mr. Rich Tenga, OEA, identified the concern in calling this what it is, a completed JLUS as opposed to calling it a Phase I and then a Phase II which was the original concept.  He thought this could be complete enough and adopted where OEA could provide additional funding for implementation considering it as a finished product.  Further, the fact that communities will have adopted noise contours and Military Influence Planning Areas from which to work within as far as additional areas to research, conduct additional analysis, and possibly would be the areas in which the recommendations would apply, technically that could all be done now if that is the decision each jurisdiction and the Policy Committee want to make.  That was the concept for doing it this way instead of the original idea of the Phase I/Phase II idea where we would wait for a final AICUZ, which is years away.   Mr. Black responded that he thinks they are in synch, with a little twist.  The Phase I would have things that we do not think are AICUZ related, but noise is part of the AICUZ and we know that is going to change.  In areas where there is high confidence that there will be nothing to come out of the SEIS to change the situation there such that the outcomes and recommendations (in the JLUS) are assured, those can be taken back to those government entities for consummation and “getting on with it.”  He stated his intent with the Phase I/Phase II was not to hold up those measures which can be done in the more immediate time frame.   Mr. Tenga responded that this is why we have shied away from the two-phase approach.  The idea is that we can do just about everything right now the way the recommendations are written up and go forward through implementation on all of them.  The difference is where the final noise lines will be on the map and the final tally of properties affected.  That can be adjusted when the SEIS noise contours are made known.  Mr. Black then interjected to clarify that while he agrees with Mr. Tenga’s ideas, the only issue he has is the recommendations actually become sort of omnibus recommendations.  For instance, he cited the need to “get an acquisition program going on” or “get a noise attenuation program going on.”  He agreed they need to be done, but at this point there are other recommendations that should come first.  Mr. Tenga agreed.  Mr. Fanto commented that this is really the crux of the strategy staff has tried to look at as we move forward to implementation.  That was also the basis for the recommendations to continue the JLUS structure as it currently exists (Policy Committee and Technical Advisory Group) and keep Okaloosa County as the lead agency for implementation so we can continue to work through these, working in the same collaborative fashion as we’ve done planning.  Chairman indicated he felt there was consensus among the committee for the phased implementation of the study.  Mr. Bomar returned to the clarification statement, saying he felt it made clear the intention of the committee as stated by Mr. Black.  Mayor Arnold then stated he would like to see Valparaiso as the one most “hit” would need to see the total effect of the recommendations that are made in this study.  He questioned if the city could survive when talking about re-zoning, land use, and acquisition programs.  He further questioned if “there was enough left” so they can meet their bond obligations and continue as a city.  He further advised that “we have some textbook solutions but we don’t know how viable they are in this downturn in the economy and how long they would take.”  He further stated that “we don’t believe the City of Valparaiso can exist” and that perhaps one of the solutions should have been to “appropriate $400 million to buy us.”  Mr. Fanto responded that staff didn’t think that was the proper solution for his community.  He went on to say that the recommendations for Valparaiso specifically with the idea in mind that Valparaiso would remain a viable entity.  Mayor Arnold said he didn’t believe that, when looking at total effects, “we’re not viable.”  Mr. Fanto said he appreciated where the Mayor was coming from, but offered a countering point of view that “looking at the different potentials for redevelopment since Valparaiso is a built environment, in lieu of and in light of acquisitions that will most likely have to be made, we believe at this time that the offsets are such that there could potentially be a gain.  But those are things that we will have to do additional analysis on, which are part of our implementation strategy to take those and do them as studies, which is how it is worded in the JLUS.”  He further acknowledged that pending those studies, this JLUS does not give that level of detail.   Mayor Arnold responded that “you quote redevelopment, enterprise zones, these kinds of things.  We have no idea how successful these plans or programs could be, what the cost is to implement them, where the money is going to come from, and how long is it going to take?  How is the city going to exist over this period of time as tax revenues will be almost zero.  What do we do?”  Mr. Black interjected that one of the implications of his recommendation for a Phase I/Phase II approach, the recommendations for redevelopment, while indeed may be the right thing to do long term, he would see Phase I as developing the knowledge that will allow a look at these recommendations.  He believes there are steps that can be done now that will not get the “cart before the horse” so we can get the details first.  Mr. Bomar commented that most of the recommendations just described are exactly what’s in the document.  Mr. Fanto then commented that “back to the redevelopment recommendation, our initial in the Interim Draft version for the City of Valparaiso, we picked an area, arbitrarily, and said we think this is the best potential for redevelopment in Valparaiso and recommend you go do this.  The city objected to that, and we understand, and so we changed that recommendation to say in lieu of us arbitrarily picking the spot, let’s do a study on redevelopment in Valparaiso and you guys work with whomever we help hire and you figure out where the best areas are in your community because redevelopment is the only potential to do anything for a built environment.  So, that is why we tried to change that to give the community much more influence and much more say in how that recommendation is done; from ‘do this’ to ‘study potentially doing this.’  That’s why we were trying to make it a recommendation that the community would accept and adopt, realizing that resources should come to help them with those types of analyses that will give them the better level of information they desire.”  Colonel Bruce McClintock commented that it appears to him the study is already written in that way, that already says “study” and others that specifically state other things.  It is his understanding that any municipality can take a recommendation that says “implement” and decide to study it before implementation.  He said he believes the Phase I/Phase II is already built in and that the document already captures that philosophy. 

Mr. Bomar then introduced the next comments, received from Eglin AFB, notably the Community Planner and 46th Test Wing.  All the comments were categorized as “Substantive” and “Administrative.”  He said he believes there is still additional information to be exchanged between the base and his firm, but he doesn’t see it as a significant point in changing what the recommendations are.  He further said that quite a few of these comments have already been implemented and that the remainder will be resolved before issuance of the final JLUS document. 

The next group providing comments was the American Farms Zoning Awareness Group in Santa Rosa County.  Specifically, it deals with expanding MAZ-III (MAZ designator used in Santa Rosa County as an already established overlay per their 2003 JLUS; MIPA is the designation for Okaloosa and Walton Counties) to coincide with some correspondence received from the Eglin Mission Enhancement Committee.  They want to expand the boundary north to US 90 and south to the Eglin boundary.

Lately, two comments were received from the public.  One individual is in opposition to the same recommendation covered earlier (Santa Rosa County recommendation 7).  Specifically, they were in favor of the proposed pass being cut and felt like additional studies needed to be completed in order for this recommendation to be adopted.  The last comment was by fax with no name attached but said “With increased military facilities and housing, have any plans been made for additional power generation?”  Mr. Bomar commented this is outside the scope of the JLUS.  Mr. Fanto added that this is an area being studied in the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan that has a full utilities subcommittee looking at this issue. 

Mr. Bomar resumed his presentation, talking to moving forward.  He said he is comfortable with a release of the final JLUS document in mid-July, with the group reconvening at or near the end of July/early August for the final public hearing. 

Chairman Roberts then asked Mr. Fanto for his recommended direction.  Mr. Fanto commented that staff feels, based on the comments reviewed today, the changes to the document are minimal and that the team can make the deadlines outlined by Mr. Bomar, pending the committee’s direction on the phasing verbiage discussed earlier.  Commissioner Salter commented, with regard to the phasing discussion, that he believes that a JLUS once implemented is a living document to some degree because the mission is subject to change, aircraft are subject to change, and that it would be foolish to think that approving this makes it final.  Councilman Wood said that even calling it Phase I/Phase II, even when Phase II is completed, things are still going to happen and to think that it’s done after Phase II, it is not.  Mr. Fanto interjected his perception of concern about the finality of this “final” document.  He cited Santa Rosa County as an example in that they are still working on implementing recommendations from their 2003 JLUS.  He further stated that the most immediate need is for Policy Committee members to take the completed document back to their respective communities for discussion and adoption.  He would like to see that happen within 60-90 days after the public hearing so more time is not lost in beginning some of the study work that will need to be done early in the implementation phase.  He stressed that getting each of the recommendations implemented could take years for communities to do; and that even though the study may be finalized by the end of July, getting everything done as recommended could take years and years.  Councilman Allen said he agreed with Councilman Wood in that even though we may call this a final document, final documents can always be supplemented. 

Chairman Roberts said he feels the last sentence in the JLUS Clarification Statement (about the JLUS being supplemented) needs to be emphasized more perhaps at the beginning and not the last sentence.  Mr. Black then offered his assistance in suggesting words to help clarify for the benefit of the citizen so to make it clear of the desire to supplement the study when new data becomes available.  Mr. Bomar said he believes that at this point in the process, we are comfortable saying the study will be supplemented, versus a similar sentiment 12 months ago.  Mr. Black suggested a “shotgun” coordination among the members to keep them aware of the updated wording.  Mr. Fanto asked members to expedite their review once provided for their awareness.  Motion Commissioner Salter, second Councilman Smith to approve this action.  Passed unanimously. 

Mr. Bomar then asked for direction with regard to public comment received.  Staff recommended no changes to the recommendations as written in light of the public comments.  Mr. Fanto added he felt the comments were adequate for those affected jurisdictions to take and use as part of their work, but that no formal changes be made to the JLUS. 

Mr. Fanto did ask for direction for a site for the Public Hearing to accept the study.  He did recommend an evening meeting, around the 30th of July, at the Water and Sewer Building.  Mayor Arnold asked it be held at Niceville High School or at the Niceville Community Center.  The committee concurred with the suggestion. 

The meeting was concluded at approximately 2:15 p.m.
 

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The Eglin Installation Growth Committee (EIG) is guided by the Executive Committee and is made up of 11 specialized subcommittees:

  • Transportation Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Environmental Concerns Committee
  • Utilities Committee
  • Public Health Committee
  • Housing Committee
  • Citizens Advisory Committee
  • Planning Committee
  • Economic Development Comittee
  • Law Enforcement and Public Safety
  • Military Committee