A compatible use ordinance typically results from a series of small steps taken together by a community and a nearby installation. The initial outreach step helps build familiarity and an understanding of mutual concerns. Outreach and coordination may give an installation an advisory position on a regional planning body, or it may allow the community to seek input from the military on a development project near facility boundaries. More structured initiatives, such as a Compatible Use Study, Intergovernmental Service Agreement, and Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration project, go beyond awareness and allow for concrete steps that are mutually beneficial to the installation and the surrounding community. A requirement to notify land purchasers or lessees about, for example, installation noise may be an intermediate step toward a compatible use ordinance.

It is also important for communities and installations to consider changes in military missions that may require updating of applicable military planning studies, such as an AICUZ. Examples of mission changes that could trigger updates include the introduction of new types of aircraft, an increase or decrease in operations, new night training missions, or changes in ammunition types/sizes. In response, a community may need to amend zoning regulations to stay consistent with military operations.

There are many resources available to assist local jurisdictions in developing a compatible use ordinance. The Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) offers support in facilitating communications between installations and surrounding communities. OLDCC includes a repository of Joint Land Use Studies and Compatible Use Studies that are valuable resources for how to address compatible use. Besides the many ordinances that have been adopted around the nation, some organizations publish model ordinance templates that can be adapted for local use, such as those on the Fort Drum compatibility website.

Beyond these resources, communities developing local ordinances should work with the many other organizations that can offer guidance and lessons learned from their own compatibility experience. Installations can also seek guidance from larger facilities and commands, which may have greater resources and more sophisticated procedures in place. Communities interested in developing ordinances to address compatibility issues are encouraged to contact Planning and other stakeholder groups, such as the Maryland Military Installation Council and the Association of Defense Communities. Planners may also employ professional networks, such as the American Planning Association's Federal Planning Division, to connect with colleagues who may have worked on compatibility ordinances.

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