Civilian-Military Land Use Compatibility

Military and Community Compatible Use

Incremental development near military bases or ranges can affect both civilian life and the military’s ability to operate safely and efficiently. Incompatible use can include structures or activities that obstruct operations or attract new populations (human or threatened and endangered species) into military operating areas where they are likelier to experience impacts from routine base activities. A base compromises its capacity whenever it must adopt avoidance measures, or otherwise modify training routes and activities to accommodate non-military activity. However, it is possible to align military needs and local planning goals through collaborative effort. Optimal land uses especially include those characterized by sustained low-density and low-intensity activities near military installations and ranges. Planning for compatible use can grant communities unique opportunity to preserve working lands and open space, loss of which poses increased chances for land use conflict. Local civilian-military partnerships are central to success in identifying mutual interests and conflict resolution. Commerce is supportive of local civilian-military coordination to identify and integrate optimal land uses within plans, development regulations, and projects.

Program Update 2018-2019

In 2018 Commerce received a Compatible Use grant from the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to produce a technical assistance guidebook on military and community compatibility. The goal of the grant is to support local compatibility efforts through communication and technical resources for communities engaged in compatibility planning. The 2018-2019 Compatible Use grant implements communication and technical assistance elements of the Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy, prepared for Commerce by the Spectrum Group in December 2017. The award supports staffing and contract consulting for guidebook development and associated outreach. Commerce ported a Request for Proposals (RFP) for third-party, independent consultant services on the agency contracting opportunities webpage, and to Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) for vendors https://fortress.wa.gov/ga/webs/ (external link).

Compatibility Program and Resources

The goal of this program is to develop resources to support local compatibility efforts across Washington State. The Spectrum Group (TSG) prepared an independent implementation plan that recommends how Commerce may continue to build its understanding and capacity relevant to compatible use. Commerce released a draft for a public comment period from June 15th to August 1st, and directed TSG to integrate feedback into the final plan, Washington State Military & Community Compatibility Strategy (December 2017). Commerce will review TSG’s integration of comments into the final plan, and will produce a response-to-comments document as an addendum to the draft in January 2018. The final plan is now available:

Program Background and Timeline

2015: Washington State Legislature directs Commerce to conduct an encroachment study. Commerce commissions Eastern Washington University to produce a draft review of nationwide best practices that Commerce publishes for public comment. Commerce integrates feedback and publishes a revised draft report. (Authorizing legislation : 2015 3rd ex.s. c 4 s 128)

2016: Washington State Legislature provides $98,000 to Commerce for the study, which provides matching funds for a $485,000 Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) grant award. Commerce selects an independent consultant, the Spectrum Group (TSG) to complete the study after conducting additional outreach to jurisdictions and miliitary installations. TSG prepares the final legislative report, Civilian-Military Land Use Study, which Commerce submits to the Legislature in December. (Authorizing legislation: 2016 1st ex.s. c 36 s 126)

2017: The independent consultant, TSG, produces a draft implementation and sustainment plan to recommend what Commerce can do to continue learning and engaging with compatibility stakeholders. Commerce collects public comment from June to August that TSG integrates into the final plan, Washington state Military and Community Compatibility Strategy, published to the program webpage.

2018: Commerce seeks to implement elements of the Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy, especially enhanced communications, outreach to explore ideas for compatibility-supportive funding and legislation, and new technical assistance resource for communities that plan near military bases or ranges.