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Surrounding areas to study land use relationship with Aberdeen Proving Ground

Jurisdictions surrounding Aberdeen Proving Ground are in the early stages of preparing a study of potential land uses and their compatibility with the existing and potential future missions at the large Harford County military installation.

Public workshops on the Joint Land Use Study will be held next week at locations in Harford, Cecil and Kent counties.

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The study is being coordinated by the Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor, an advocacy organization formed to facilitate base realignment affecting Aberdeen Proving Ground that is supported by Harford County's Office of Economic Development.

Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor said it is working on the land use study with the county governments in Harford, Cecil and Kent, as well as the cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace and other government agencies and organizations in the region. The three counties and two cities comprise the planning area for the Joint Land Use Study.

Aberdeen Proving Ground is also participating, according to Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor, which said the study is funded by the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment.

"The [Joint Land Use Study] will explore impacts of community development on APG and vice versa, and will make recommendations to promote land use compatibility and collaboration," CSSC said in a statement. "The goal of the [Joint Land Use Study] is to reduce current and potential compatibility issues between APG and surrounding jurisdictions, while accommodating new growth and economic development, protecting public health and safety, and sustaining the operational missions of APG."

"In order to develop a plan that is responsive to local needs, input from the community is essential," the statement continues. "The public is encouraged to join us at this workshop, learn more about this planning study and provide input on the issues to be addressed."

Among issues that will be discussed are coordination between the civilian sector and the Army, noise, safety zones, light and glare, vertical obstructions, roadway capacity and air quality.

"The purpose of the Joint Land Use Study is to engage both the military installation and surrounding community in a cooperative planning effort to address compatibility issues," Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor Manager Karen Holt explained. "This is a proactive initiative on the part of both community and installation. Both have experienced growth with BRAC 2005 and could see more in future rounds of BRAC or other [Department of Defense] consolidations."

"It's an exercise that enhances cooperative spirit between APG and community officials while preserving long-term land use compatibility between APG and its neighboring jurisdictions and municipalities," Holt said, adding that military and community leaders were interviewed "to ascertain commitment to the project."

The result of the study will be a comprehensive report with recommendations for both community and installation, she said.

"Although the findings are non-binding, it provides a playbook for installation and community to build from and implement strategies that are mutually beneficial," she said.

More information is available at http://www.apgjlus.com.

The Harford County meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in room 130 at the University Center at HEAT, 1201 Technology Drive in Aberdeen.

The Cecil County meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in Room 208, Cecil College Tech Conference Center, 1 Seahawk Drive in North East.

"This Public Workshop is an opportunity for public officials, community leaders, business reps and interested citizens to learn more about Aberdeen Proving Ground and [Joint Land Use Study] process," Holt said.

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Aberdeen Proving Ground covers more than 72,000 acres of land and water, and its activities impact the three Upper Chesapeake Bay counties and northeastern Baltimore County.

Established in 1917, APG is said to the Army's oldest active weapons proving ground. According to the Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor, APG is home to nine major Army commands and supports more than 80 activities in three major areas: research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E); command, control, communications and computers for intelligence (C4ISR); and chemical, biological and nuclear defense.

Research, development, testing and evaluation ranges cover about 66,000 acres and are used as engineering test courses for tanks and other tracked vehicles. The ranges also are used for live munitions testing. APG laboratories conduct numerous research investigations into the development of warfare and battlefield technology and equipment.

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