Gazebo Gazette

The Gulf Regional Planning Commission (GRPC) has been awarded a $350,000 Military Installation Sustainability Grant.

This funding, awarded by the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment, will be used to conduct a Compatible Use and Installation Resilience Study.

These studies are done every few years and bring military personnel, city and county officials, and representatives from relevant industries together to increase communication, understanding and collaboration between all parties and foster more compatibility.

“The military’s presence in South Mississippi is an important factor in how we plan and develop our communities,” said John Ledbetter, Chairman of the Gulf Regional Planning Commission Board.

“Military installations have special needs that present unique considerations to the businesses and homes near them.

Land Use Studies ensure that the military and civilians are working together to anticipate and address challenges and to plan communities that meet everyone’s needs.”

The most recent Joint Land Use Studies were conducted in 2017 for Keesler Air Force Base and the Naval Construction Battalion Center.

The results and recommendations of both are available online at http://keeslerjlus.com and https://seabeesjlus.com .

The new project will begin in August and will continue for 18 months.

Items to be considered in the upcoming Study include:

A military influence overlay district, which will address land use in Hancock County within NASA’s Acoustical Buffer Zone.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (i.e., drones) flight patterns.

Measures such as identifying and mapping flight corridors, establishing no-fly zones and communication about drone safety will be developed.

Amendments to existing local Comprehensive Plans within impacted areas to include military components.

Partnership forums to foster regular and consistent coordination between the military and local communities.

A regional housing assessment, which would examine the area’s housing needs in terms of regional growth and the housing of additional military personnel.

An energy resilience and security action plan.

The strength of our area and Keesler by addressing potential threats to facilities and operations due to natural and man-made events such as power outages from natural disasters.

“We’re looking forward to getting into the work and learning all we can,” Gavin added. “We’d also like to thank the Department of Defense and our Congressional Delegation – Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Congressman Steven Palazzo – for their constant and enthusiastic support of the Gulf Coast’s military projects.”

The Gulf Regional Planning Commission is the oldest planning agency of its type in Mississippi, representing twelve cities and three counties.

GRPC is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization.

GRPC strives to catalyze action on regional issues such as transportation, housing, the environment, and development.