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Dover Air Force Base Compatible Use Study nearing completion

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Delaware Public Media
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The Dover Air Force Base Compatible Use Study is nearing its final steps with a final report expected by March.

The study began early this year seeking to support the base’s operations and sustainability by strengthening communication and collaboration with surrounding communities, state agencies, and other partners.

The Joint Policy and Technical Committee met on Monday to discuss mitigation strategies for some focus areas.

Century Engineering’s Sonia Marichic is one of the project’s team leaders. She says housing is a major focus.

“Allowing for a certain portion to be rentals in case it's more of a short term stay and then trying to put in affordable housing that would match the needs of the military personnel," she says. "So we think that that should be part of the comprehensive plans for the surrounding communities so that it is a goal and a priority of theirs to support the base with the different types of either growth and development or housing changes or use changes that they plan for long term.”

The planning process is intended to consider military readiness and defense capabilities at the base while supporting community and economic development.

For example, Marichic says they’ve heard complaints about a lack of walking and biking infrastructure in the area - as well as an interest in connecting to nearby wildlife areas.

“There really are no perceived or current issues with communication," Marichic says. "What we want to make sure as part of this plan is that we have a defined path forward, and a defined policy or defined avenue so that as the personnel changes that communication does not change. It is working, so we want to look at what is working and make sure that continues over time.”

Marichic adds traffic isn’t presenting many issues, but several environmental factors are worth discussing like impacts on wildlife and how sea level rise could affect Port Mahon.

“We want to make sure that this area is secured and that it's on the long term and short term resiliency plans,” she says.

A draft report of the study is expected to be released some time this month, with a final report in March.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.