Compatible Use

Installations and neighboring communities are strongly interrelated and must work together to address problems that can affect either community goals or military operations. State and local governments, private citizens, and installation representatives must understand each other's issues, needs, and planning processes to assess how respective decisions can affect others. Collaborating on land use planning and understanding unique challenges are essential compatible use planning practices.

The below compatible use best practices describe how states, communities, and the military have collaborated on legislation, planning, and information sharing to promote strong, productive, and mutually beneficial relationships.

Relevant Compatibility Factors​: Land/Air/Sea Spaces, Community Development, Policies, and Regulations (Land Use), Spectrum Impediment/Interference, Vertical Obstructions, Marine Environments

Best Practices in Maryland

  • St. Mary's County AICUZ Overlay and Airport Environs Overlay
  • Prince George's County Military Installation Overlay Zone

Best Practices in Other States

Highlight 1: St. Mary's County AICUZ Overlay and Airport Environs Overlay


St. Mary's County was one of the first jurisdictions in the country to establish an Air Installations Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) in its local zoning ordinance. The overlay combines AICUZ and Airport Environs (AE) ordinances, requires public airports, airfields, or heliports to be located within an existing AICUZ or AE Overlay Zone, and restricts incompatible land uses. The overlay zone, delineated on zoning maps, applies to lands immediately surrounding Naval Air Station Patuxent River, meets all state and federal aviation requirements, and is consistent with the county's airport master plan. The zone applies four levels of increasing restrictions from a "Clearly Compatible (A)" zone, which essentially has no restrictions, to a "Clearly Incompatible" zone, where certain land uses are prohibited.

Read the Air Installations Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) and Airport Environs (AE) Overlay: Chapter 43 of St. Mary's County Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance

Highlight 2: Military Installations and Support: City of Virginia Beach Comprehensive Plan


Virginia Beach, VA, recognized the importance of the five military facilities in or adjacent to the city, by establishing a section entitled “Military Installations and Support” in its current 2016 comprehensive plan. The plan and related zoning regulations support a continued, strong, military presence in Virginia Beach through land use recommendations, development controls, business relocation incentives to encourage more contractors, long-term land acquisition plans (e.g., through DoD OLDCC Sustainability Grants or the REPI Sustainability Program), and advocacy and partnering with bases to achieve community and military objectives. Communities looking to address similar topics in their comprehensive plans should review Virginia Beach's approach and the scope and type of information that is addressed.

Highlight 3: Prince George's County Military Installation Overlay Zone: Noise


Joint Base Andrews Air Installation Compatible Use Zone Study (AICUZ) established noise intensity contours and based on these, the Prince George's County Military Installation Overlay Zone, Requirements for Noise, Sec. 27-548.55, was developed to address applicable land use controls and construction standards. In High Intensity Noise Areas certain land uses are prohibited and development permits are regulated to reduce adverse noise impacts on vulnerable populations. Prohibited uses in High Intensity Noise Areas include child day care and nursery, elementary (including pre-kindergarten and kindergarten), junior high (middle), and senior high schools, playgrounds, recreational programs, before and after school care, swimming pools, community centers, and all other active outdoor recreational uses.

Learn more about the development of the Prince George's County Military Installation Overlay Zone​. ​


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