NSA CRANE – Joint Land Use Study
How do you plan for compatible growth around a 98 square mile (64,000 acres) military facility, located in three counties? This is the question that Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane and the associated counties of Greene, Daviess and Martin were asking.
Ensuring compatible growth at NSA Crane is a considerable concern. NSA Crane purchases billions of dollars of goods and services, much of this from Indiana and surrounding county vendors. Further, the value of related employment at NSA Crane is valued north of $300 million a year.
It turns out the Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), has planning resources to address this challenge. OEA’s planning resource is a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) Program. To date, state or local jurisdictions have completed 93 JLUS projects, and more than 70 are currently underway. OEA frames its planning program as follows: When a Military Service believes civilian growth and development may impair the military mission, the Service may nominate the installation as a JLUS candidate.
NSA Crane, Radius Indiana and affected county governments looked into these planning resources and determined the program would be of considerable value.
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) applied for and was awarded a $200,000 planning grant from the OEA.
The planning grant will provide resources to develop a report that will provide recommendations and direction to ensure that future development for areas in and around NSA Crane does not result in incompatible land use. The planning engagement will also consider how activities within NSA Crane can be modified to minimize impacts on communities beyond Crane’s boundaries.
When NSA Crane was established in 1941, its location was, by design, very remote. The need for large tracts of land and a secure location drove the site selection for the facility. The development around NSA Crane since its beginning has not been robust. Rather, cities and towns around NSA Crane have realized very manageable growth and development opportunities.
However, development patterns could measurably change with the advent of Interstate 69 providing a new route from Bloomington to Evansville. The I-69 route is proximate to NSA Crane and 3 exits along the route have the potential to accommodate development opportunities that could not have been imagined previously.
Considering that the final section of I-69 that impacts NSA Crane will be put into service soon, the opportunity to utilize the JLUS Program could not have come at a better time.
The recommendations resulting from the JLUS will help local governments, land owners, businesses and others ensure compatible development and minimal impact to NSA Crane’s mission. These recommendations can be regulatory (zoning and structural height restrictions) or voluntary (land exchanges and sales). Some examples include establishment of military overlay districts with specific land use and zoning requirements, unified development ordinances amendments to capital improvement plans, transfer of development rights, building code sound attenuation measures, real estate disclosures, lighting ordinances, and local development review procedures to ensure input from the military.
Crafting the final recommendations may be somewhat challenging for this planning assignment, considering that only 2 of 3 affected counties have adopted planning and zoning.
Following a procurement effort by the Indiana Department of Administration, the Matrix Design Group, based in Denver, Colorado was selected to provide the associated JLUS planning services.
The JLUS planning effort should begin in the spring of 2015 and could take up to a year to complete.
While it seems the focus of the planning effort is on the 64,000 acre NSA Crane facility, Sullivan County is also involved in the planning effort. NSA Crane has a very unique testing facility at Glendora Lake in Sullivan County. The 100 acre lake is part of a 450-acre test facility.
This Joint Land Use Study is a very unique planning assignment with a number significant challenges. I’ll attempt to share updates on the project as the planning process unfolds.
Bob Grewe, AICP
Manager, Community Development Services