The long-delayed encroachment study for Patuxent River Naval Air Station has been given a go-ahead by the Office of Economic Adjustment within the Department of Defense (DoD). Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland (TCCSMD) has been approached by that DoD Office about being the sponsor of the study.
According to TCCSMD Executive Director Wayne Clark, ten counties would be involved in the study. They would be the three Southern Maryland counties along with counties on the Eastern Shore and the Northern Neck of Virginia. Council members approved TCCSM’s involvement in the project at its January meeting in Annapolis. The regional agency has its headquarters in Hughesville.
Clark and council staff are now meeting with representatives of the three regional councils that cover the areas on the Eastern Shore and Northern Neck. There was a preliminary meeting at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills on the Eastern Shore on January 26; the two councils serving the Mid and Lower Shore will meet on March 15 to vote of their involvement.
The council recently contracted with Greg Bowen, former Calvert County planning director, to fill a vacant planning position. Clark said Bowen would be the staff person coordinating the encroachment study with the other three regional councils. Bowen and Clark attended Tuesday’s joint meeting between the Navy and St. Mary’s County officials.
The encroachment study would expand what St. Mary’s County has been doing for years. The county in the 1970s adopted an Air Installation Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) to protect the community from noise and accidents by limiting the types of development. That also protects the base’s mission of testing aircraft and buffers the base from community complaints.
Clark said the exact amount of the contract with TCCSMD has not been determined, but it would be approximately $500,000.