Florida funds help Jacksonville promote compatible land use around Navy bases
By DAN SCANLAN | The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville | Published: June 19, 2020
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — A $322,500 state grant will help protect Jacksonville's U.S. Navy bases by paying its neighbors to not develop their property.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force grant will support the city's Encroachment Protection Program, which promotes compatible land use in Military Influence Zones around its bases.
The city program prevents development that would severely impact the mission of Navy bases by acquiring restrictive use easements over properties in those zones. To purchase land from willing property owners, the Navy provides 75 percent of the funding, while the city is responsible for the remaining 25 percent. The city's Military Affairs and Veterans Department receives grants the state's to make its contribution.
"Our city has a strong relationship with the military, particularly the U.S. Navy," Mayor Lenny Curry said. "This funding will ensure that our bases and installations are protected from development that is incompatible with the operations that secure our freedom."
Existing homes and low-impact uses like farming are still allowed on property with those easements. A similar $500,000 state grant given to the city 11 months ago, matched with federal funds, was used to pay owners willing to sign easements that ensure they won't build new homes or do things like create smoke or glare that interfere with military training.
About 1,300 acres have been protected from incompatible development in the past 11 years through the program. The state grant will help leverage $967,500 of federal Integration funds for future projects, city officials said.
Jacksonville and other Florida communities routinely use easements to control development around the edges of military property.
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