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Pinal County Joint Land Use Study

2021 Open Category Honorable Mention

American Planning Association, Arizona Chapter

2020 Best Collaborative Planning Project Citation Award

American Planning Association, Federal Planning Division

The Pinal County Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) is a regional planning tool that promotes compatible land use planning around four Arizona Army National Guard (AZARNG) sites in Pinal County, Arizona: Rittenhouse Training Site, Florence Military Reservation, Picacho Peak Stagefield, and Silverbell Army Heliport. The JLUS process established and encouraged a synergetic relationship among stakeholders and facilitated a collaborative approach to the identification, prevention, and/or reduction of encroachment issues associated with the competing needs of current and future military missions and local community growth. Key issues identified and addressed through the JLUS included large amounts of undeveloped land around the AZARNG sites with development interest that would impact training capabilities, residential development moving towards weapons firing noise zones, limited collaboration with the AZARNG for placement of cell towers that may impact helicopter flight, increase in LED billboards and minimal outdoor lighting regulations that may result in impacts to night training capabilities, and minimal planning policies and regulations in local planning documents to guide compatible growth.

Due to the geographic separation and unique mission of each installation, Matrix developed and led a complex stakeholder engagement process that was tailored to each specific area while addressing common compatibility issues shared across all four. Our team facilitated numerous discussions with the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) and AZARNG leadership to address long-term leases and land use concerns for future mission expansions.

The project further showcased an interactive, online StoryMap with maps and short narratives about each AZARNG installation and all partner communities to orient users to the area, enhance understanding of the local military missions, contextualize the JLUS, and explore development and other opportunities in the region. The GIS-based tool allows users to select individual parcels to learn about property ownership, existing land use, zoning, and whether a location is situated within a military operational footprint such as noise and safety zones in which compatibility considerations may direct further development parameters. The groundbreaking approach established a new standard for JLUSs typically characterized by static documents to incorporate more widely accessible, dynamic, and highly functional components that support more engaged and proactive compatibility planning.