Document Resources

Select a topic from the list below to explore guides, implementation resources, case studies, real world examples, and other information that is supportive of compatible use and development.

Air Mission Compatibility​

Land use development around an airfield has the potential to expose more people to the noise and accident potential of flight mission training. Resources in this section will allow the user to explore the history of and development of accident potential zones, the Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ)​ program, and sound insulation guidelines for residential areas exposed to aircraft operations. In this section, also find sample avigation easements and overlay zone ordinances that communities have implemented to ensure the success of the military air missions in tandem with existing communities.

Communication and Coordination​​

Communication and coordination between an installation and surrounding community is imperative for successful compatible land use planning. Resources in this category include examples of intergovernmental support agreements (IGSAs) and memoranda of understanding that jurisdictions and installations have enacted in support of increased communication and coordination, guides to encourage compatible land use between local governments and the military, and other frameworks supported by real world scenarios that enhance and sustain collaboration within defense communities.

Compatible Use Guidebooks

States, military installations, and professional organizations across the country have published guidebooks on a variety of topics in support of compatible use planning and partnerships. In this section, explore resources that discuss advancing resiliency for defense communities, understanding and planning for airfield noise, and which lay a framework for how military installations and communities can continue to build mutually beneficial relationships through communication, coordination, and legislation.

Compatible Use Planning 

Compatible use planning protects the critical military defense missions assigned and executed by each installation, as well as the economic growth, infrastructure development, and need to protect property rights that is the responsibility of local governments. These resources provide guidance and strategies defense communities and installations can use to resolve conflict and encourage compatible land use, particularly through the implementation of a Compatible Use Study and Military Installation Resilience Review (MIRR). In addition to detailed explanations of the process for developing these valuable planning documents, this section also includes a compilation of all the joint land use studies completed throughout Maryland.

Comprehensive Planning 

A comprehensive plan helps guide public and private actions and decisions to ensure that all growth and development is done considering appropriate land use relationships. Comprehensive plans can and should consider the compatibility needs of military installations, just as they consider the natural and human made resources and the land uses that one typically associates with these documents. Where applicable, it is important for the military installation to engage in this process, whether it be during the review process or in the development of a dedicated military element. In this section, find examples of collaboration on comprehensive plans and sample military elements for jurisdictions to consider.

Economic Development 

Military installations bring a host of benefits to the communities in which they are located, including invaluable support to the local and regional economy. Local governments and installations support economic development by promoting job opportunities, strategizing how to attract new businesses, encouraging development and new residents, and providing housing and other amenities to existing residents. These resources demonstrate the economic impact that the military has on select communities and provides guidance on strengthening the defense industry through partnerships and other innovative strategies.


As development increases near and around military installations, land use conflicts can arise between mission activities and local communities. While there is no universal approach to prevent encroachment, there are resources that communities and installations can consider so growth is not stopped, but instead is channeled and designed so land uses in specified areas are compatible with the operations of nearby military activities. In this section, find strategies that state and local governments have used to address encroachment at military installations that allow each entity to continue to grow and evolve.

Environmental Resources 

Successful partnerships between defense communities and military installations also include commitments to advance sustainable management of the natural and working lands in and around installations and ranges. There are many local, state, and federal programs that promote environmental resource protection and prevent conflict from arising, such as the National Resources Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution. Other resources in this category have been selected to showcase how installations, states, and municipalities have pursued initiatives to promote resiliency, protect natural features, and further the environmental health while sustaining mission readiness.

Guard and Reserve 

The multitude of Maryland National Guard and Maryland Reserve facilities, and those who serve in them, significantly enhance Maryland’s and the nation’s security and support the local, regional, and state economies. The Maryland Department of Planning will continue to update our resources related to the Guard and Reserves and the importance of considering them vital partners in compatible use planning.


Resilient infrastructure preserves the missions of Maryland’s military installations and scaffolds economic and community development in Maryland’s counties and municipalities. Resources in this section describe funding, example partnerships, and programs at the federal and state levels that jurisdictions and installations can access or emulate to ensure robust energy, transportation, water, and other infrastructure networks in pursuit of mutual objectives.

Intergovernmental Support Agreements 

Military installations, same as communities, need to maintain infrastructure, ensure program functionality and effectiveness, and deliver services to stakeholders, residents, and employees. One method by which installations and their neighboring jurisdictions can collaborate on these shared needs is intergovernmental support agreements (IGSAs)​. IGSAs allow military installations to enter partnerships with state and local governments for providing, receiving, or sharing support services, and can be a powerful tool to reduce costs on base and increase local government capacity and funding. These resources include IGSAs in Maryland, information about how to establish an IGSA, and analyses of IGSA benefits.

Land Preservation 

Military installations often engage in operations whose impacts, such as flight training or ordinance testing, extend beyond the gates. To maintain mission readiness, resilience, and long-term sustainability, installations must be confident that incompatible land uses will not encroach into areas impacted by training operations. Partnerships between installations, local governments, and non-profit organizations can advance land preservation, through easements or other means, in areas sensitive to base operations. These collaborations can pursue and implement local, state, and federal land preservation objectives through funding sources and programs, such as the Rural Legacy, Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF, Program Open Space (POS), and REPI programs. These resources also provide examples of such collaborations.

Noise Compatibility 

Military training exercises can be very loud. Noise generated along jet flight paths and resulting from ammunitions testing can intrude on quality of life and the enjoyable use of land if compatibility is not a center piece of collaborative planning between installations and their neighboring communities. To ensure military readiness and the economic viability of bases, the answer to noise concerns cannot be to reduce testing, but rather to plan around, and develop accordingly within areas in which decibels reach the higher, uncomfortable ranges. In this section, explore examples of and information on strategies to address noise compatibility, including noise contours, sound attenuation of homes, and residential contract noise disclosures.


Military installations and Maryland’s communities have a mutual imperative to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, more frequent and intense storm events, and extreme temperatures. This preparation is best pursued collaboratively. Fortunately, the State of Maryland and federal government have extensive informational, planning, and funding resources to foster resiliency that adapts to these threats, including the Chesapeake and Coastal Grants Gateway and Military Installation Resilience Review (MIRR) program. Resources in this category include Maryland examples of resiliency projects and guidance documents about accessing and implementing resiliency funding.


As with noise, military training operations can also generate unsafe conditions if the proper precautions are not taken, nor clear communication channels constructed. For example, Air Installation Compatible Use Zone (AICUZ) studies identify Accident Potential Zones, for which the highest level of protection and land use planning scrutiny should be applied, such as in the Prince George’s County Military Installation Overlay Zone​. Installations have a responsibility to share guidelines and guardrails to their jurisdictional neighbors to protect landowners, recreators, organizations, and employers from the safety hazards inherent in their operations. Local governments have the responsibility to communicate these guidelines and to develop local procedures and regulations to protect their stakeholders. Explore examples and the history of certain safety regulations.

Zoning and Local Legislation

Land use planning and zoning are two of most powerful tools through which jurisdictions and neighboring military installations can develop and prosper. This website includes extensive guidance and suggestions for planning and zoning that supports compatibility, which users are encouraged to review. This category provides a few more examples, from within and without the State of Maryland, that jurisdictions can reference when considering the development of their own legislation.

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