Civilian-Military Land Use Compatibility

Military and Community Compatible Use

Military activity and operations impact neighboring communities while civilian activity impacts military operations. “Compatibility” describes this multi-directional relationship in civilian-military planning. Conflicts arise when there are different interests that can compete in a shared environment. The aim of compatibility work is to lessen the impact of conflicting interests, and to solutions that are mutually beneficial to community and military needs.

Compatibility Planning

The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) (RCW 36.70A.530) cites the military’s significant role in the economy and declares a state priority to prevent incompatible development near military installations. Incompatible development also poses health and safety concerns for neighboring community members and military personnel operating or training for active duty. Jurisdictions planning under the GMA consider these risks and potential impacts to military missions when they update or amend comprehensive plans and development regulations. Technical guidance and resources are important aids to people engaged in compatibility planning and coordination.

2018-2019 Project Goal: Technical Assistance Guidebook

The Military & Community Compatibility Program’s purpose is to develop technical resources that support local compatibility efforts. The project goal for 2019-2019 is to produce a Washington State Guidebook on Military & Community Compatibility (Guidebook) by July 1, 2019. The guidebook will introduce civilian-military compatibility for a broad audience with in-depth technical guidance for planning practitioners working on compatible use projects.

Commerce teamed with MAKERS architecture and urban design LLP (MAKERS) in July 2018 to draft the Guidebook as a technical assistance resource for community members and local planners to use while engaged in local planning and compatibility processes. The Guidebook will include a citizen’s guide and technical sections for planning practitioners.

The citizen’s portions of the Guidebook will introduce compatibility planning, explore the balance of community vision with military mission, discuss the balance growth and change with compatibility, and outline compatibility planning processes in Washington State.

The technical portions of the Guidebook will further discuss compatibility planning principles and practices, with connection to comprehensive planning under the GMA. Technical guidance will explore areas of conflict and opportunity, with overview of compatibility strategies and programs.

The Guidebook will conclude with an implementation toolkit, including a policy quick-reference guide, examples, planning worksheet(s), a glossary, and a quick-reference guide to aid communication.

Outline for the Washington State Guidebook on Military and Community Compatibility

Part 1: Citizen's Guide

Part 2: Planner's Guide

Part 3: Implementation Toolkit

Introduce compatibility planning.

Discuss the challenge of balancing community vision with military mission.

Discuss balancing growth and change with compatibility.

Outline compatibility and land use planning processes in Washington State.

Explain Washington State’s regulatory context for compatibility planning.

Discuss the relationship between compatibility, comprehensive plans, and development regulations.

Discuss compatibility conflicts and approaches to addressing them.

Identify compatibility strategies and programs.

Provide a policy quick-reference guide.

Contain compatibility worksheets, checklists, or compatibility case examples. Contain a consultation quire-reference guide to aide communication.

Include a glossary of civilian and military compatibility terms to bridge gaps in communication.

Public Participation

Community input about local experience with compatibility challenges and solutions is valuable to this project. Guidebook content will rely on input from communities and planning professional (civilian and military) to create an effective technical resource. Commerce is gathering feedback through an online survey, technical focus groups, community workshops, and a public comment period (in Spring 2019.)

Take the project survey to give input for the Guidebook.
Subscribe to the “Civilian-Military Compatibility” email list.
Read and share our project fact sheet (PDF)
Check back again for event announcements and updates to the program webpage.

Compatibility Program Resources and Background

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

2015: Washington State Legislature directed Commerce to conduct an encroachment study. Commerce commissioned Eastern Washington University to write a review of nationwide best practices, which Commerce published for comments in August 2015. Commerce revised and republished the draft report in February 2016.. (Authorizing legislation : 2015 3rd ex.s. c 4 s 128)

2016: Washington State Legislature provided $98,000 to Commerce for the study, which served as matching funds for a $485,000 Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) grant award. Commerce selected The Spectrum Group (TSG), a consultant, to prepare the final Civilian-Military Land Use Study, which Commerce submitted to the Legislature in December. (Authorizing legislation: 2016 1st ex.s. c 36 s 126)

2017:  TSG prepared a draft program strategy to recommend what Commerce can do to continue learning and engaging with compatibility stakeholders. Commerce collected public comments for the draft from June to August that TSG integrated into the final Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy (December 2017.)

2018-2019: Commerce began implementing outreach and technical assistance elements of the Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy (December 2017.) The program received a $497,000 grant from the DOD to conduct outreach and develop a Washington State Guidebook on Military & Community Compatibility as a technical resource on compatibility planning.