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Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay , Georgia

Camden County and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay address compatibility issues surrounding civilian development and area wildlife, to ensure military mission continues.

Camden County served as the project sponsor and grantee for the 18-month Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for the areas surrounding Naval Submarine Base (NSB) Kings Bay, which was completed in 2014.  The Cities of Kingsland, St. Marys, and Woodbine participated in the JLUS planning process.  The City of St. Marys is serving as the sponsor and grantee to carry out the JLUS recommendations with a 2018 projected completion date.  

Camden County’s JLUS represents a community-driven planning process for NSB Kings Bay 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 between NSB Kings Bay and the surrounding communities to address compatibility issues.  The JLUS planning process benefits both the military installation and its surrounding 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.

NSB Kings Bay is located in Camden County, adjacent to the City of St. Marys, in a semi-rural area in southeastern Georgia, 40 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida.  The base is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's homeport for the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines and includes approximately 16,000 acres, of which 4,000 acres are protected wetlands.

Increased recreational boat traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway, continued airspace encroachment from the adjacent St. Marys general aviation airport, three residential developments west and south of the base, and development of two recreational boat marinas along the St. Marys River and Cumberland Sound to the south were identified as compatibility issues that could likely impair NSB Kings Bay operations.  Recreational boating creates logistical problems by affecting the timing and efficiency of Navy operations, and impacting Coast Guard ability to maintain security buffers between Navy submarines and civilian vessels. 

To address the security concerns related to operation of St. Marys Airport, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act authorized closure of the general aviation airport.  In response, the City of St. Marys proposes to redevelop the former airport site, ensuring future development is compatible with continued military operations.  An implementation study is underway that includes a site assessment and marketing analysis examining historic trends and current conditions in supply chain dynamics, workforce attributes, and economic and market metrics to assess the strengths and challenges of the subject property. The City of St. Marys also undertook a master/visioning plan and zoning update to carry out the JLUS recommendations and implementation strategies.  The full update of land use and zoning documents will ensure compatible future development and redevelopment of properties in areas identified as concern for continued military operations.

The following deliverables are a result of efforts to carry out the JLUS recommendations:

  • Parcel based GIS Zoning map, coordinated with Camden County’s GIS system
  • City of St. Marys Unified development ordinance
  • Camden County development ordinance updates
  • Redevelopment Site Assessment and Market Analysis for former St. Marys Airport

Point of Contact:

Michael Fender

Camden County

(912) 576-6682

Program: Compatible Use

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