Fort Bragg Selected to Conduct a Joint Land Use Study

The Department of Defense has announced the award of a major planning grant to conduct a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) in the Fort Bragg region. The purpose of the study is to assess the potential threat to the military training mission from incompatible urban growth and development that has occurred in the areas surrounding Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall since the completion of the 2005 BRAC process.

The grant was awarded to the Mid Carolina Council of Governments and will be managed through the Regional Land Use Advisory Commission (RLUAC) Board of Directors and Full Commission. The RLUAC Executive Director, Jim Dougherty, will serve as the Project Manager.

The study is expected to take twenty-four months to complete. Throughout that period the RLUAC Board of Directors, full Commission, and the selected project contractor will conduct numerous meetings with local government officials and private citizens to obtain public input.

The JLUS will focus major attention on the following issues, concerns and needs:

  • Conduct a major revision of the massive sandhillsgis.com database.
  • Document the extent of new urban development that has occurred within five miles of Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall since 2005.
  • Document the extent of forest loss within the five mile boundary since 2005 and the impact on the Red Cockaded Woodpecker foraging areas.
  • Inventory the location of telecom towers and military aircraft flight corridors.
  • Identify climate change issues affecting the fort and region’s utility infrastructure.
  • Identify undeveloped areas surrounding the military installations that are of greatest risk of being developed in an incompatible manner with the military training needs.
  • Identify the location of solar farms within the region to determine whether or not they pose a potential threat to military aircraft pilots.
  • Identify potential threats to the quantity and quality of the Fort Bragg region’s public water supply.
  • Identify and protect the military airspace needs for the Army’s Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles that will be housed at Camp Mackall later this year.

On August 23rd the JLUS Selection Committee selected Benchmark Planning to conduct the study.

Sustainable Resource Management for Climate Resilient Communities

Alba Polonkey, Sustainability Manager for Sustainable Sandhills, presented information gained from the just completed ten month planning process conducted by Sustainable Sandhills regarding climate change and sustainability issues at the RLUAC quarterly meeting held on February 18th. The objectives of the study were to develop a climate adaptation plan, promote climate resilience through sustainable resource management, and to spark action by both local governments and the general public.  She concluded her presentation with a list of actions, included within the strategic plan, to help mitigate the growing climate change threats. Specific recommendations include: 1) integrate climate resilience into all planning and natural area conservation efforts, 2) protect future water quality and quantity, 3) provide assistance and support for vulnerable populations, 4) shift development patterns to sustainable community design, green buildings, and renewable energy supply, and 5) establish and maintain a monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management process.  For the entire PowerPoint please go to the “Meetings” tab at the top of the page and open the presentations.

What is Urban Forestry and Why is it Important?

According to Leslie Moorman, Executive Director of the North Carolina Urban Forest Council, North Carolina has lost so much of its forested landscape since the 1940’s, that all remaining wooded areas should be considered as urban. She made this observation during her presentation at the RLUAC quarterly meeting conducted on Thursday, February 18, 2016 after defining urban forestry as “any tree, green space, or wooded area within city jurisdictional limit as well as the surrounding area where the urban fringe is moving into the rural landscape”. This significant loss of forest coverage is due to North Carolina’s rapid rate of population growth and urban development. Leslie explained that there are substantial economic, environmental and social/behaviorable benefits of urban forests, including higher residential values, higher retail and commercial occupancy rates, and the willingness of consumers to pay more for goods where tree canopies exist. In addition, trees provide shade which translates into lower cooling costs, lower energy use, blocking solar radiation, and reduction of air temperatures. Trees also clean the air – reducing nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter. Further, trees improve water quality by reducing storm water runoff, reducing peak storm water flows, reducing flooding and improving groundwater recharge. They provide wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Finally, they absorb and deflect urban noise, reduce glare reflection, and slow down vehicular traffic on tree-lined streets. Studies show that outdoor spaces with trees are used more often, they contribute to an increase in social interaction, generate higher levels of social cohesion among neighbors, increase a sense of safety and assist with stronger ties. To protect our remaining wooded areas, Leslie offered several important actions that must be taken now. They include: Planning Efforts - conducting tree inventories and developing urban forest management plans. Forest Management – increase tree plantings, pruning, removal of damaged/dead trees, storm drainage, insect/disease control, tree surgery, and root pruning. Governmental Policy – adopting tree care ordinances, tree protection ordinances, and land use plans / zoning ordinances that include tree and landscaping requirements. For more details, see Leslie’s entire PowerPoint presentation included under the “Meetings” tab at the top of the page.

Upcoming Events - New Meeting Time!

Quarterly Membership Meeting:
 

August 19, 2021

10:00 am (New Meeting Time)

Spring Lake Family Resource Center - 103 Laketree Blvd, Spring Lake, NC 28390