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Governor Perdue Signs Legislation Addressing Encroachment Issues for Georgia's Military Installations

Tuesday, June 3, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law today legislation that aims to address potential land-use conflicts between communities and nearby military installations.

"Urban encroachment near military installations can impact the base's operational activity and ongoing viability. As the proud home to 13 military bases, representing all branches of our nation's armed services, Georgia is particularly sensitive to these issues and recognizes the uncomfortable position incompatible growth from encroachment can cause for our communities and military bases," said Governor Sonny Perdue.

"Senate Bill 261 moves us in the right direction by requiring that local communities seek the input of the nearby base's military commanding officer as the local area plans for growth," said Governor Perdue. The legislation mandates that local communities coordinate with their adjacent installations to consider the impact of zoning decisions on military operations. Local planning departments or similar agencies will be required to solicit input from the military base's commanding officer regarding any possible changes in land use. The local military base's commanding officer will have an opportunity to provide a recommendation regarding the land use or zoning recommendation and to explain whether or not the proposed project will have a negative impact on the base's operations.

In recent years, incompatible land use has placed many communities and nearby bases at odds over several issues, including noise levels, projects that produced excessive light, smoke or other actions that may limit a base's ability to conduct training exercises.

"I applaud Georgia's Military Affairs Coordinating Committee (GMACC), especially Chairman Micky Blackwell and the bipartisan coalition of legislators, including State Representatives Larry O'Neal, Barry Fleming, Robert Ray and Larry Walker and State Senators Seth Harp, Eric Johnson and Ross Tolleson, for their hard work on this important legislation that is critical to Georgia's soldiers, veterans, communities and the state's economic health," said Governor Perdue.

Military Bases Remain Important Element In State's Economic Health

"Growing up near the Air Force Base in Warner Robins, I know first hand the impact a military base can have on a community. Georgia's bases provide a great stimulus to our economy in terms of money spent in our communities, civilian jobs and incentives for businesses to develop and grow," added Governor Perdue.

"I am pleased that this legislation recognizes the economic impact of our military operations and look forward to more cooperative efforts as local communities plan for growth," concluded Governor Perdue.

According to GMACC, military operations have a $25 billion economic impact on the state economy. In addition to supplying the largest number of troops to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Georgia's 13 bases represent all branches of the service.

Perdue, Other Governors Across The Nation Continue To Address Encroachment Issues

According to the National Governors Association (NGA), military value is the preeminent criteria the U. S. Department of Defense uses when evaluating bases for retention. Military value is reflected in the ability of the base to train troops for their wartime mission and encroachment is viewed as affecting a base's ability to train troops.

Incompatible development from encroachment has been a factor in the curtailment of training operations or the relocation of certain operations to other bases. As a worse case scenario, incompatible land use and development can contribute to closure of the installation.

In an October 2002 Issue Brief on the impact of encroachment, the NGA recommended five strategies to states to address these issues, including (1) crafting legislation that requires compatible land use; (2) passing zoning, planning, and noise requirements legislation; (3) using statutory language to designate military installations as areas of critical state concern; (4) acquiring property surrounding military installations; and (5) creating state military advisory bodies, like Georgia's Military Advisory Coordinating Committee.