Colorado’s first Joint Land Use Study offering citizens an opportunity to weigh in on military and community land use issues began this week, with an online community survey open through May 31 and telephone town hall scheduled this month.
The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments is asking for public input, requesting El Paso County residents to fill out the survey and expect a call April 26 at 7 p.m. to discuss local issues with JLUS study manager Angela Essing and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who is overseeing the study.
Areas being addressed include development near airfield operations, regional airspace use, trails and recreation, regional water supply and alternative energy development.
“They will take live questions and it’s a great way for people to give their input without having to leave their house or go to a public meeting,” said Rachel Beck, policy and communication manager for PPACG.
More than 120 joint land use studies have occurred throughout the country; live telephone town halls will also occur in Teller, Pueblo and Fremont counties this month.
“We want a lot of responses,” Beck said. “The sooner we can collect people’s input, the sooner we can respond, pinpoint commonalities and look further into these issues.”
Last October, PPACG was awarded a two-year grant from the DoD to conduct the study to examine impacts of land uses and missions of the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and to generate solutions.
“It’s a community-driven process and public input will drive how the rest of the study goes,” Beck said. “It’s a way to work together to solve issues for installations and cities, to make sure we’re being good neighbors to each other.”
Andy Merritt, chief defense industry officer for the Regional Business Alliance, told the Business Journal in a Dec. 2015 interview that he hopes solutions the report recommends will be far-looking.
“It’s very important for our community,” he said. “From this future planning, hopefully we can protect the mission of our military bases and prevent anything that would compromise them.”
Other opportunities for the JLUS will include community meetings and issue working groups.
For more information on the study and PPACG, visit http://www.ppacg.org.