Land Use Around Ft. Rucker May Soon Change

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Business locations could become more regulated if the federal government has its way.

When civilian lifestyle comes too close to a military installation, that installation begins to have encroachment issues, which can compromise its effectiveness.

To prevent that from happening locally, Wiregrass leaders are considering setting up a Joint Land Use Study Program.

The JLUS program comes from an office within the Federal Department of Defense.

Its goal is to set up a barrier around the base and its stage fields to prevent business and residential growth so close to the establishment.

"All the communities are growing. More people are coming from Florida. An encroachment is a big issue, period," says Ozark Mayor Bob Bunting.

If the program passes for an area, existing businesses like these will not have to worry about closing down to comply with the law.

"It doesn't mean that we're going to stop somebody or pass zoning laws that say you can't sell your piece of property. The most important thing is awareness, communication, an opportunity for all of us to understand what encroachment means and it's more than building a residential area next to an installation," says Bunting.

The size of the barrier has not been determined, but officials say it will be measured in miles.

There will be no transfer of land if a surrounding area adopts the plan. It’s designed to give recommendations on how the land should be used.

Only the municipalities can do any implementations.

The project is not Fort Rucker sponsored. It's strictly the communities coming together.

Monday, there were representatives from all over the southeast to hear about the program.

They are hoping to meet again around mid-January to discuss participation.

The joint land use study typically costs $60 to 500,000 dollars, depending on its complexity.

Ninety percent will be paid by the federal government, with the remaining 10 coming from the communities.