Q: What land use activities on my property could create a negative impact on Little Rock Air Force Base?
A: There are a range of land uses that can potentially impact aviation training and operations at Little Rock Air Force Base. The primary concerns are related to ensuring public safety in the community and the safety of pilots navigating in the airspace around the base. For instance, the construction of a wireless telecommunications tower that exceeds a certain height threshold in the wrong location (like too close to a runway or along a flight path) could present a hazard to aircraft and require that Little Rock AFB modify where and how it flies. Other land uses of concern can create hazards by emitting smoke or steam (like from a factory) that can obscure visibility for pilots. Certain types of facilities can create electronic interference that might disrupt navigational equipment on aircraft. Even things like landfills and water filled strip mines can pose a threat if they are under a flight path since they attract wildlife that can create bird air strike hazards (BASH). These are just a few examples of land uses of potential concern.
Q: Have the impacts of base operations been studied?
A: Yes. The 2021 Compatible Use Study (CUS) was undertaken in a collaborative effort between Little Rock AFB and its local government partners in the region. The study examined existing and planned development patterns in the region for compatibility with military training and operations. Where areas of compatibility concern were noted in the study, recommendations were made for the base and affected local governments to take action to address them in the manners most appropriate in each community, which was completed in a phase 2 study in 2023. While the studies found that, broadly speaking, there were not too many major concerns related to compatibility with military training at the present time, there were a number areas of potential future concern that could be addressed through the implementation of regulatory, non-regulatory, and public awareness measures.
Q: What can I do to help support military operations at the Base?
A: The best way for a resident, property owner, or business owner to help support and sustain Little Rock Air Force Base’s military mission is to learn more about the potential negative impacts of incompatible development on its mission and support local efforts to coordinate with the base and enact regulations that guide compatible growth in your community. Share this website with your friends, neighbors, and community groups to build awareness of the land use compatibility issues, and learn who to contact in your community if you are thinking about undertaking a project in an area that might impact, or be impacted by, operations at the base.
Q: Do local land use regulations protect military operations and impacts on civilians?
A: Yes. The city has adopted an ordinance related to protecting compatibility within LRAFB accident potential zones that are located off the northeast end of the primary runway. The areas included in Jacksonville’s “Air Installation Compatible Use Zone” overlay district are limited to these mapped zones “lying within and outside the corporate limits of the City… .”
The purposes of the overlay district are to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of citizens in compliance with Arkansas law and the 2011 LRAFB AICUZ Study. In addition to promoting safety around LRAFB, the goal of the overlay district is to address environmental concerns created by violations of the overlay district provisions and to preserve and enhance the economic value of the property within the overlay district.
Local regulations are based on guidance that the Air Force provides to help communities surrounding LRAFB determine the appropriate types of regulations for their particular circumstances and the specific impacts, or potential hazards, that are locally relevant.
While the Air Force may be consulted for its input on certain development proposals, like a rezoning or subdivision approval, the authority to approve or disapprove any project or permit in the City will always be vested in the local government, unless the local government has deferred that authority to another agency via an interlocal agreement.