Land use focus of community collaboration

By Katie SkelleyMarch 2, 2021

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo (Photo Credit: Eric Schultz) VIEW ORIGINAL

After a two-year development process, Redstone Arsenal’s strategic planning mission with its surrounding partners is moving forward.

The Redstone Arsenal Joint Land Use Study was created through a collaboration with the cities of Huntsville and Madison; the town of Triana; the counties of Madison, Marshall and Morgan; Redstone Arsenal; and various local agencies, organizations and the public. Its purpose was to identify and address compatibility issues and develop a set of implementable recommendations to be instituted by the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments. As the regional planning commission for the five-county northeast Alabama region, TARCOG convenes local and regional stakeholders in multi-jurisdictional planning and project implementation efforts, and helps local governments improve the quality of life for the region’s more than 649,000 residents.

“TARCOG is excited to be carrying the baton, handed off by the City of Huntsville, in this leg of this important journey to ensure RSA’s continued viability,” said Michelle Gilliam Jordan, TARCOG executive director.

The Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment awarded TARCOG $409,500 with a committed local match of $45,500 for a total project cost of $455,000 to carry out the JLUS implementation activities. Work will begin in the Spring of 2021 and conclude in the summer of 2022.

“The goal is to promote growth for everyone and not have any compatibility issues,” Garrison Master Planning’s Kaela Hamby said.

The aim of the JLUS is transparency that enables all stakeholders to be successful as both Redstone Arsenal and the surrounding communities experience a record growth. Huntsville is now set to be the largest city in Alabama in around two years. This partnership enables Redstone to “grow with a purpose,” Hamby said.

The JLUS implementation project will address several of the more critical and complicated strategies that were deemed highly important – specifically those that have a direct bearing on the safety and well-being of the communities in close proximity to the Arsenal as well as those that help sustain Redstone Arsenal’s military operations. A set of 93 recommendations were developed, addressing such concerns as noise, safety, vertical obstruction, unmanned aircraft systems, wildlife strike hazards and improved coordination between stakeholders.

Hamby said the JLUS does not just examine the encroachment of the surrounding communities and its effect on the work done on the installation, but also looks at how operations affect each other on post. Master Planning has developed a 20-year plan for the installation so as it grows, that growth can be strategic.

The municipalities and counties impacted by the operations of the Arsenal – all members of TARCOG – and Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Mellor and other relevant Arsenal stakeholders will be active participants, with TARCOG serving as the project sponsor and responsible for the implementation of the proposed strategies and recommendations identified in the JLUS. These strategies will include development of specific resources for local governments to use, such as mapping, data and regulatory documents.

This will also assist local leaders to make informed land use decisions and will provide land use controls needed to manage compatibility issues to promote community development that supports continued military operations – operations that need to grow, Hamby said.

“I’m looking forward to the tools that will be created for our member communities to use as they continue to thrive and grow next to one of the most important economic engines in Alabama,” said Sara James, TARCOG economic development and planning director and project lead.