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.

Technical Assistance Guidebook on Civilian-Military Compatibility

The Military and Community Compatibility Program’s purpose is to develop technical resources that support local compatibility efforts. The Draft Washington State Guidebook on Military and Community Compatibility introduces civilian-military compatibility issues for a broad audience, with technical guidance for planning practitioners working on compatibility projects. Commerce conducted technical focus groups and community workshops in Fall 2018 to help develop guidebook content and held a
thirty-day public comment period for the draft guidebook in April 2019. The final guidebook is anticipated for publication in July 2019. The draft is available here: Draft Guidebook on Military and Community Compatibility

A program input form is also available for general comments about this program. To receive program announcements, subscribe to the Civilian-Military Compatibility email list. For media inquiries, contact Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications at 206-256-6106.

Guidebook Purpose and Background

Commerce teamed with an independent consultant, MAKERS Architecture and Urban Design LLP, in July 2018 to assist with public outreach and drafting services. The Guidebook is a technical assistance resource for community members and local planners to use while engaged in local planning and compatibility processes. The Guidebook includes a community guide and technical sections for professionals in fields related to civilian-military planning.

The Guidebooks is organized in three parts: Part 1 introduces compatibility planning, discusses community visions and military missions, explores the balance of growth and change with compatibility, and outlines planning processes. Technical guidance in Part 2 and Part 3 explores areas of conflict and opportunity, with overview of compatibility principles, programs, and practices in the context of Washington State planning regulation. The Guidebook concludes with an implementation toolkit, including a quick-reference policy guide, examples, planning worksheet(s), a glossary, and a consultation guide to support communication.

Outline for the Washington State Guidebook on Military and Community Compatibility

Part 1: Community 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.

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.