Wright-Patterson to discuss guidelines for development around base

Council of governments seeks to work with base

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base officials are ready to help guide communities on how best to shepherd development around the sprawling installation.

Base officials have scheduled a public meeting to discuss their 2022 Air Installations Compatible Use Zones study. The session will be at 6 p.m. April 27 in the Jones Room at Twin Base Golf Course.

The coming study is timely, said Michael Gebhart, assistant city manager at Fairborn. Wright-Patterson is surrounded by growing communities, like Fairborn, and growth around the Greene County base has been steady compared to some parts of the Dayton region.

Greene County, with nearly 198,000 residents in 2020, saw nearly 4% population growth from 2010 to 2020, Census numbers showed. Beavercreek, with 46,549 residents, saw 3% growth. And Fairborn, with 34,510 residents, enjoyed 6.67% growth.

Fairborn’s entire western boundary is Area A of Wright-Patterson, Gebhart noted. And part of Fairborn’s southwestern boundary is National Road and the base’s Area B.

“Anything the base is doing is extremely important to us,” he said Thursday.

And vice versa. Last year, a council of local governments was formed to better work with the base. The council is readying to hire a consulting firm to help create land-use guidelines for those very communities, Gebhart said.

“It’s going to take us 12 to 16 months to finalize this with the consulting firm,” he said. “I would say a growing number of military bases around the county have these compatibility-use plans in place with their neighboring communities.”

The idea is simple, he said. Communities near military installations want to make sure they build nothing that would deter those installations’ missions. One example: No city would want to build something shiny or reflective near a flight line, such as a solar panel array.

“We have a good relationship with them, and anytime we can be better partners, we, of course, go above and beyond to make sure we’re communicating with them,” Gebhart said of Wright-Patterson.

Bryan Chodkowski, interim city manager for Huber Heights, expects the study to be helpful.

“This foundational information can help us better plan our own land use and development strategies to not just continue the growth here in Huber Heights, but do it in a way that helps support the base,” he said in an email.

Base leadership and 88th Civil Engineer Group planning staff will be on hand at the April 27 meeting to answer questions on the compatible use zones study, which was last completed for the base in 1995, Wright-Patterson said.

The Air Force has described the studies as a way to help local governments in land-use planning near military installations.

“AICUZ studies are conducted to ensure the base balances the needs of military air and ground operations with community concerns by focusing on the Air Force’s policy of promoting public health, safety and general welfare in areas surrounding installations while seeking development that is compatible with the defense-flying mission,” Wright-Patterson said Wednesday.

The Department of Defense developed the compatible use zones program in response to increased urban development around military airfields.

There will be information booths with posters and handouts at the public session, the base said. The base is asking attendees to arrive no later than 6 p.m.

The golf course is off Ohio 444, through base gate 16 A.

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