Policies And Scope Of Air Installation Compatible Use Zones Program

LCD-76-329: Published: May 21, 1976. Publicly Released: May 21, 1976.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the policies of the Department of Defense (DOD) and military services for establishing compatible use zones around military air bases and on the services' estimates of the cost to acquire land or easements as necessary.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's policy is to insure the operational capability of its air bases by limiting development of those areas subject to high accident danger or undue noise; (2) DOD is revising its instructions in light of congressional concerns and, in the interim, has issued directives for determining areas subject to accident danger or undue noise and for setting acquisition priorities; (3) DOD stresses that every effort to achieve land use compatibility through zoning changes and other community actions will be made before acquiring properties around airfields; (4) a DOD official said that land within clear zones (the area up to 3,000 feet from the ends of runways) will have to be acquired in most cases to effectively control these areas; (5) DOD advised the services that the priorities were to acquire lands within the clear zone whenever practicable, and beyond the clear zone, acquire interests in accident and high noise areas only when all possibilities of compatible use zoning have been exhausted; (6) the military services have designated 194 installations for the program; (7) the services plan to complete the individual installation reports which will afford local communities the technical information on which appropriate land use actions can be taken; (8) the Army and Navy do not have current estimates for their overall program cost; and (9) the Air Force estimates that its program will cost about $56.8 million.

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