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JUST RELEASED FY 2016 Defense Spending By State report available for download.

Beaufort MCAS/Parris Island MCRD , South Carolina

The Low Country Council of Government communities surrounding Beaufort MCAS/Parris Island collaborate to ensure compatibility and communication with urban development and base operations.

The Low Country Council of Governments (LCCOG), a regional planning body in the State of South Carolina, served as the project sponsor and grantee for the 15-month Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for the areas surrounding Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort/Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, completed in 2017. The 2017 JLUS built upon the efforts of an earlier study, completed for the area in 2004 that resulted in the establishment of a Transfer of Development Rights initiative. The City of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal, Beaufort County and other affected stakeholders participated in the new study. Additionally, LCCOG worked with MCRD Parris Island and the Beaufort Port Royal Sea Level Rise Task Force to identify the community infrastructure supporting the MCRD which may be in jeopardy to storm surge and increased flooding. 

The JLUS represents a community-driven planning process among the Beaufort area Marine Corps installations and the surrounding communities to promote compatible civilian development in support of military readiness and defense capabilities; protect public health, safety, general welfare, and quality of life; promote the economic viability of the communities; and foster continued communication among these Marine Corps installations and the surrounding communities to address compatibility issues. The JLUS planning process benefits the military installations and their supporting communities by identifying existing and future land use conflicts, and where mitigation strategies, ordinances, and future planning may counter possible civilian development that may impair continued military operations

MCAS Beaufort is located on the coast of South Carolina in Beaufort County. The installation includes a 6,949-acre main site and the 971-acre Laurel Bay Family Housing area, both located within the boundaries of the City of Beaufort. New training missions have increased the operational tempo and number of flight operations significantly, and new aircraft, which are nosier and have vertical take-off capabilities, changed the noise contours. These changes necessitated an update to the 2004 JLUS. In addition, economic development and population growth in the community continues to increase, placing increased pressure on land uses near and surrounding the military facilities, adding to compatible use challenges.

MCRD Parris Island is located in the Town of Port Royal. The installation is completely surrounded by water and wetlands and is connected by a causeway to the mainland. MCRD Parris Island is the only Recruit Depot on the East Coast and the only Recruit Depot in the nation that trains female recruits. MCRD Parris Island serves as the headquarters of the Marine Corps Eastern Recruiting Region, which includes recruiting districts that are generally east of the Mississippi River as well as Puerto Rico. 

With more than 50 percent of the installation a saltwater marsh, there are several areas that experience recurrent flooding on and near the installation. In addition, noise complaints from the Hilton Head area increased, as well as recreational boat traffic on the Broad River, interrupting rifle training. Commercial and residential growth in Beaufort County, particularly from the Hilton Head area, may have a negative impact on the MCRD Parris Island training missions and range operations.

The following deliverables were produced from the study effort:

  • Public outreach to continue communications between the installations and the community and further community understanding of the installation missions and encroachment challenges.
  • An agreement to adopt the new military overlay boundaries relative to new F-35 aircraft operations.
  • A report identifying local government infrastructure the installations are dependent upon that have been or are at risk of being compromised due to increased flooding frequency and severity.

Point of Contact:

Ginnie Kozak

Planning Director

Low Country Council of Governments

(843) 473-3958

gkozak@lowcountrycog.org

Program: Compatible Use
State:
SC
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