Thursday, October 18, 2007- 6:00 P.M.
City of Ozark Municipal Complex
Ozark, AL  36360

The Fort Rucker Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) project held its second public involvement meeting at the City of Ozark Municipal Complex in Ozark, AL on October 18, 2007. The meeting was called to order at 6:02 P.M. by Mr. Scott Farmer, Community Development Director of the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, the project sponsor. Mr. Farmer, who also serves as the JLUS coordinator, welcomed those in attendance and briefly stated the JLUS project goals and objectives. This meeting is continuing the regional public involvement meetings for the Fort Rucker JLUS project being held in various locations in the Southeast Alabama region. Those in attendance who signed in were as follows:

Scott Farmer, SEARP&DC
David Lebert, SEARP&DC
Thomas B. Solomon, SEARP&DC
Jack Holmes, Fort Rucker
Jane McArdle (Wiregrass Aviator)
Mayor Bob Bunting, City of Ozark
Charles Lott, Jack, AL.
Lance Griffin, Dothan Eagle Newspaper
Sarah Gilbert, Southern Star Newspaper
Winston Jackson, councilmember, City of Ozark
Col. Scott Larese, Garrison Commander, Fort Rucker
Gerald Harden, Dale County Commissioner, JLUS Policy Committee
Steve Averett, New Brockton, AL.
Bob Cooper, Enterprise, AL.
Douglas Pittman, New Brockton, AL.
Teresa and Floyd Bellard, Tabernacle Community
Jeff Jordan, Town of Newton
Steve Price, City of Ozark
Gary McDaniel
Joe McDaniel
Halpert Byrd
Brenda Byrd

Mr. Scott Farmer provided a brief overview of the JLUS project and explained the various steps that will be involved including the solicitation of public comment on land use around the Fort Rucker military installation footprint. Mr. Farmer stated the JLUS is being funded through a 90% Department of Defense/Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) grant and the 10% local matching funds are being provided by the Friends of Fort Rucker. The project is expected to be completed by October, 2008.

Mr. Farmer provided an overview of the Department of Defense video, “The Base Next Door” prior to it being shown to the attendees. Mr. Farmer stated that this video, although dated, still represents the best available overview of the JLUS process addressing land use issues affecting both the public and military installations. The video highlighted some of the land use issues associated with military base operations and land use patterns of the surrounding areas. The video further explained in some detail the purpose and scope of conducting a JLUS to mitigate some of these issues.

Following the video, Mr. Farmer narrated a detailed PowerPoint presentation highlighting the various training facility locations in the Southeast Alabama region and closely associated with Fort Rucker’s military readiness mission. Mr. Farmer also explained the JLUS committees, (Technical and Working) and their role and ultimate responsibility that they will have in making the final JLUS recommendations to regional local governments when the JLUS planning study is completed. Mr. Farmer recognized several committee members who were in attendance.

Following the presentation of the video and PowerPoint presentations, Mr. Farmer asked for comments from the citizens attending the meeting. He stated that the project sponsor would take all comments from the floor and would be compiling these and will be passing all comments on to the JLUS Technical and Working Committees for discussion.

The following comments were noted:

  • Dale County Commissioner and JLUS committee member Gerald Harden spoke up and stated that we were all attending the meeting in a spirit of working together to solve problems and that all should work together and if we do, we can solve any problem.
  • Ms. Brenda Byrd of Enterprise asked if any citizens who currently own property around Fort Rucker or any of their training facilities were on the JLUS Technical and or Working Committees. Byrd stated that she felt land owners should be part of these committees. Mr. Farmer explained that the committees were appointed by the regional local governments. He did not know if any of the members were property owners or not, but he said he would check on it and report at the next public meeting. He also promised to have the JLUS committees discuss this issue at their next meeting. Byrd stated she was very concerned about the APZ around Shell Field.
  • Mr. Joe McDaniel of Enterprise who was in attendance, made several statements and asked numerous questions regarding excessive noise that is disruptive to his home located near the Molinelli Firing Range. Mr. McDaniel stated that he owns property adjacent to this range and cannot sleep at night due to noise from helicopter firing especially late at night. Mr. McDaniel continued to state that he has complained for years about noise from the range firing machine guns and rockets from helicopters during the evening and early morning hours. McDaniel again asserted his problems with noise said he continues to find no solutions being offered from Fort Rucker officials to his noise complaints. He stated that he cannot sleep at night due to noise levels, and again stated that he has not had a good night’s sleep in years due to constant helicopter training and weapons firing by the military near his home. McDaniel again stated he has had “livestock stolen from his property by the military” and his fences have been run over by military operations, the same statements made at the September public meeting. He said no one has ever apologized to him for this and it has gone on for over 20 years. He said he witnessed recently a helicopter that flew in a low flight path over his home. He said that was purposely done. He stated many farmers in the vicinity have had their crops damaged by military training and have lost money due from such damages.
  • One attendee, a white male, stated that the initial encroachment issue with Fort Rucker actually began with the construction by the U.S. Army of the Shell Field facility and that the encroachment was the military coming into a civilian area and constructing this aviation facility. He said some residents cannot fully use land they own now because of APZ’s and related property restrictions near to Shell Field. He stated the JLUS video that was presented earlier in the meeting, appeared to make concessions only by the public sector to the military and not the military making any concessions to the private sector.
  • David Lebert, Planner with the SEARP&DC, stated to those in attendance that all rights are intended to be protected through the JLUS process, not just the military. He emphasized this to the private sector attendees that their rights will also be considered and that will be passed on to the JLUS committees by the sponsor.
  • Mr. Farmer stated to the attendees that indeed all comments are important in the process. He thanked those for all of their comments and that all of the comments would be passed on to the JLUS committees for discussion.
  • Mr. Farmer stated to the attendees that indeed all comments are important in the process. He thanked those for all of their comments and that all of the comments would be passed on to the JLUS committees for discussion.

After ample time was allowed for all comments or questions from the public to be received, the meeting was adjourned on motion at 7:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted: