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W’md to join in Pax River study

District Planning Office Director Jerry Davis briefed the Westmoreland County Supervisors on a land use study involving the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and nearby jurisdictions. After considering the information Davis provided, the Supervisors agreed to participate in the land use evaluation. The commitment was expressed in an adopted resolution.

The adopted resolution of May 14 supporting the joint land use study for the Naval Air station explains that the “Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Webster Field and the Inner Atlantic Test Range [located on southern Maryland’s lower end] is host to more than 50 tenant activities, including the Naval Air Systems Command and the Naval Air Warfare Center aircraft Division and [is] home to the full spectrum of Research, Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation (RDAT&E) for all of Naval Aviation, which are critical for the U.S. Navy and other branches of the American military and our allies.”

The resolution states that “the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, MD is affected by growth and development around a perimeter of the installations that could eventually 

impact the mission of the station and . . . residents within the flight patterns of a military air station can be exposed to high noise levels and hazards.”

The approved document explains that state law gives counties the “authority and responsibility to develop plans and regulations that relate to growth and development in a fashion that will protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.” The joint land use study (JLUS) is then described as “a community sponsored and led study designed to promote compatible development patterns near Naval Air Station, Patuxent River by applying a local planning process to update local plans and supporting regulations relating to the Naval Air Station’s mission and impacts on surrounding communities.”

“The four Tri and Regional Councils and Commission that work for and include as members the elected leaders of the counties within the JLUS study area and each of the counties play a vital role in participating in the JLUS study.”

The group performing the land use study will include representatives from each of the counties, the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, and the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, the Mid shore Regional Council, the Lower Eastern Shore Regional council, and the Northern Neck Planning Commission. On Virginia’s Northern Neck, Westmoreland and Northumberland are the only two counties impacted by Pax River flight activity and subsequently included in the land use deliberations and review.

Davis told the Supervisors that the federally funded study will cost between $300,000 and $600,000 to complete. No local funding will be sought.

County Administrator Norm Risavi described the effort as “worthwhile for Westmoreland County.

“To have a seat at the table is appropriate,” he advised.

“The study gives us an opportunity to find out what’s coming down the pike,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher said. “With a seat at the table, we’ll be able to get it first hand,” he told the other members of the Board.

 

Betsy Ficklin

 

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