YARS has last land use meeting

VIENNA — There are issues with 14 of the 25 “compatability factors” being used in a joint land use study of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, according to the study’s project manager.

The joint land use study is a cooperative land use planning effort between the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, surrounding jurisdictions and state and federal agencies. This effort aims to promote compatible growth, sustain environmental and economic health, protect public health and safety, and preserve the viability of the current and future of military missions at YARS.

“This is about finding the appropriate and compatible type of development within each of these areas,” Celeste Boccieri-Werner, vice president of Matrix Design Group, which is handling the study, said during a final public workshop on the joint land use study Tuesday. “The study area is pretty broad, it’s 7 miles in radius around the YARS, mainly the runways.”

The key jurisdictions affected by the study are Trumbull County, Vienna, Fowler, Howland and the air station itself. So far, the joint land use study has followed 25 potential compatibility factors to balance out the community needs with the military needs, and Boccieri-Werner said Matrix has found issues with 14 of them.

No issues were found with air quality, biological resources, changing climate, cultural resources, dust / smoke / steam, frequency spectrum capacity, frequency spectrum impedance / interference, housing availability, public tresspassing, scarce natural resources and vibration.

Issues were found with anti-terrorism / force protection, communication, energy development, infrastructure extension, land / air space competition, land use, legislative initiatives, light / glare, noise, public services, roadway capacity, safety zones, vertical obstructions, and water quality / quantity, according to a handout given to workshop attendees.

The workshop also touched on two main items: the safety zones at the end of the runways and the surrounding perimeter, as well as the noise factor. These areas are dangerous to both the YARS and the public, Boccieri-Werner said.

“Noise is subjective. One of the things we looked at were where are the critical noise areas,” said Pat Small, senior lead planner on the study. “We have noise contours that were modeled in 1993, 2004 and projected to 2025. The analysis and recommendations are based on the projected contours. For each contour, there’s a set of land use recommendations.”

Noise is an issue mainly for the public. The operations at the YARS and the airport are loud, reaching 75 decibels, which is harmful with extended exposure, Small said. The strategies considered to lessen noise include promoting noise attenuation with residential land as well as potentially moving Mathews High School to a safer location.

One issue with land use is called BASH, or Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard. Birds and other wildlife are attracted to the area and part of the land use strategy is to create a five-mile radius around the YARS to minimize this hazard. Another issue is with the imaginary space around the air station. This includes the air space that can be obstructed by things such as taller buildings, Boccieri-Werner said.

The strategies being considered would rework the area around the YARS to create a safer environment for pilots.

“We’re just providing you with a snapshot of where we are right now. We thought this was an important time to let you know that we are making progress,” Small said.

Now that the public hearings are over, a draft of the Joint Land Use Study will be compiled and made public. If the draft is well received, the next step is to create the final report and begin implementing the strategies within the report. If the public still has concerns, a fourth workshop will be held after a public review period with the draft report.

“We anticipate finishing the draft within the next couple of months and then we’ll meet back here after the public review period. We hope to have the final report completed by June,”said Small.

COMMENTS